Monday 06.07.2020

European court upholds loss of nationality for French terror convicts

They all had another nationality - Moroccan in four cases, Turkish in the fifth - so losing their French passports did not make them stateless.

European court upholds loss of nationality for French terror convicts

A European court on Thursday said France was within its rights to strip five people convicted of terrorist conspiracy of their French nationality.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) noted that the five, two of whom were born in France, had all acquired French nationality either shortly before their offences or while they were committing them.

They all had another nationality - Moroccan in four cases, Turkish in the fifth - so losing their French passports did not make them stateless.

As the loss of nationality did not automatically mean they would be deported, and it had limited effects on their right to a private life the court said. They would have appropriate legal recourse if deportation measures were later taken against them, it added.

The five had been convicted in 2007, but they were only stripped of their nationality in 2015, months after 17 people were killed in the first of a series of major terrorist attacks in France.

"Political messaging"

The group argued that the move amounted to "political messaging."

The ECHR said it was understandable that faced with events such as the 2015 attacks, a state might "re-assess, with greater stringency" whether persons convicted of terrorist offences "still maintained a bond of loyalty and solidarity with the State."

The state "might therefore, subject to a strict proportionality test, decide to take measures against them which it had not initially chosen," the court said.

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