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    September 22, 2017

    21 September 2017, Ottawa – On July 28, 2017, the French investigative judge issued a notice about the end of investigations in Dr. Hassan Diab’s case, the Canadian citizen and sociology professor who was extradited to France in November 2014. However, the decision has been delayed as the prosecutor is yet to submit written arguments.



    June 22, 2017

    Dear Ministers Freeland and Wilson-Raybould, and Mr. Alghabra,

    Amnesty International is alarmed at the continued detention of Lebanese-Canadian dual national Hassan Diab in Fleury-Mérogis Prison in France in the face of six orders from investigating judges that he be released on bail. We urge you to call on your French counterparts to take immediate steps to secure his release on bail.

    June 20, 2017

    Media Advisory

    Strong new evidence uncovered in the past few days that could help in the case of Canadian citizen Hassan Diab, who has been held in pre-trial custody in France for 2½ years without charge or trial, will be the subject of a national press conference tomorrow.

    Mr. Diab, a Lebanese-Canadian dual national, was extradited from Canada to France in November 2014 to face criminal charges in connection with a 1980 bombing outside a synagogue in Paris. Mr Diab has consistently professed his innocence.

    French investigating judges have delivered 6 judicial orders that Mr. Diab be released on bail, all of which have been summarily overturned on appeal. The most recent release order, on April 24, cited evidence that indicated Mr. Diab was in Beirut during the Paris bombing. That order was quashed on appeal May 2.

    Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, and Chantal Vallerand, of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, will speak at the press conference, as will Mr. Diab’s Canadian lawyer and his spouse.

    May 31, 2017

    France: Unchecked clampdown on protests under guise of fighting terrorism

    Powers designed to combat terrorism have been repeatedly misused to curb peaceful protest, a new report from Amnesty International has found.

    A right not a threat: Disproportionate restrictions on demonstrations under the State of Emergency in France reveals that hundreds of unjustified measures restricting freedom of movement and the right to peaceful assembly have been issued under the guise of countering terrorism.

    “Emergency laws intended to protect the French people from the threat of terrorism are instead being used to restrict their rights to protest peacefully,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s researcher on France.

    “Under the cover of the state of emergency, rights to protest have been stripped away with hundreds of activists, environmentalists, and labour rights campaigners unjustifiably banned from participating in protests.”

    December 13, 2016

    As the National Assembly and the Senate vote on the renewal of the state of emergency today and tomorrow, Amnesty International is calling on parliamentarians to reject the extension of these disproportionate measures.

    After four extensions and more than a year under the state of emergency the risks and knock-on effects of these measures are becoming all too apparent.

    Not only is the effectiveness of the state of emergency seriously in question, but the consequences on those targeted under its provisions are very real. The rights of hundreds of men, women and children have been trampled, leaving them traumatized and stigmatized.

    While it is the duty of the authorities to take necessary measures to protect the population, it is also their responsibility to ensure that any derogation from international standards does not become the norm and to demonstrate the necessity for the renewal.

    August 26, 2016

    Responding to the decision of France’s highest administrative court to overturn the ban on the burkini on a French beach, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director said:

    “By overturning a discriminatory ban that is fuelled by and is fuelling prejudice and intolerance, today’s decision has drawn an important line in the sand.”

    “French authorities must now drop the pretence that these measures do anything to protect the rights of women. Rather, invasive and discriminatory measures such as these restrict women’s choices and are an assault on their freedoms of expression, religion and right to non-discrimination.”

    “These bans do nothing to increase public safety, but do a lot to promote public humiliation. Not only are they in themselves discriminatory, but as we have seen, the enforcement of these bans leads to abuses and the degrading treatment of Muslim women and girls,” 

    August 25, 2016

    Failure to overturn the ban on the burkini would be a missed opportunity to end an assault on women’s freedoms of expression and religion as well as the right to non-discrimination, said Amnesty International as France’s highest administrative court considers a challenge to the ban.

    “The case being considered today offers an opportunity for the French justice system to overturn a discriminatory ban that is fuelled by and is fuelling prejudice and intolerance,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

    “French authorities should drop the pretence that these measures do anything to protect the rights of women. Rather, invasive and discriminatory measures such as these restrict women’s choices, violate their rights and lead to abuse.”

    July 15, 2016

    Amnesty International utterly condemns the despicable attack in Nice last night, which has left over 80 dead and many more injured. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which President Hollande has described as being of a “terrorist nature”.

    Amnesty International’s Europe Director, John Dalhuisen said: “We are all deeply shocked by the appalling attack in Nice last night.  We grieve with those who lost loved ones, and stand united with those opposing terror with freedom, fairness and the respect for human rights.” 

    February 03, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  4 February 2016

    Heavy-handed emergency measures, including late night house raids and assigned residence orders, have trampled on the rights of hundreds of men, women and children, leaving them traumatized and stigmatized, according to a new briefing released by Amnesty International today ahead of Friday’s French parliamentary debate on entrenching emergency measures in the constitution. 

    Upturned lives: The disproportionate impact of France's state of emergency details how, since the state of emergency was declared shortly after the 13 November 2015 Paris attacks, more than 3,242 house searches have been conducted and more than 400 assigned residence orders imposed. Most of the 60 people Amnesty International interviewed said that harsh measures were applied with little or no explanation and sometimes excessive force. One woman said that armed police burst into her house late at night as she minded her three-year old child. Other people told Amnesty International that the stigma of being searched had caused them to lose their jobs.

    December 22, 2015

    Released 00:01 GMT on Tuesday 22 December 2015

    A proposed change to France’s Constitution would put many people at even greater risk of human rights violations by giving security services carte blanche to close down organizations, conduct unwarranted house raids, shut down mosques and restrict people’s freedom of movement, said Amnesty International.

    The amendment, which if approved as an official government proposal by the French Council of Ministers during discussions set for tomorrow, would allow authorities to continue using state of emergency measures for a further six months after the end of a state of emergency.

    Under the current state of emergency, authorities have carried out 2,700 house searches without warrant and imposed assigned residency on hundreds of people, restricting their freedom of movement, since the November 13 Paris attacks.

    November 19, 2015

    The emergency measures being rushed through the French Parliament in the wake of the horrific Paris attacks to counter must not become a permanent fixture in France’s anti-terror arsenal, Amnesty International warned today.

    “Right now the protection of the population from further imminent attack is rightly the number one priority. But the emergency powers currently being rushed through parliament provide for a sweeping extension of executive powers at the expense of essential human rights safeguards.  They must be used only when strictly necessary and should not become a permanent addition to France’s anti-terror arsenal,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director of Europe and Central Asia.

    The 12-day state of emergency declared in the aftermath of the 13 November attacks provided for a range of additional police powers.  The bill proposed yesterday extends the state of emergency for a further three months and includes a number of additional measures.

    September 30, 2015

    French parliamentarians must reject a new bill allowing mass surveillance of communications “sent or received abroad” as it would give the government sweeping legal authority to intercept the electronic communications of millions of people without judicial authorization, Amnesty International said today.

    The draft bill, which the National Assembly will take up on 1 October, revives efforts previously struck down by the Constitutional Council in its review of the 24 July 2015 French Surveillance Bill. 

    “Under this new law, almost all internet communications will be considered fair game by the French authorities, without any form of meaningful checks and balance. Allowing for such extensive, intrusive and indiscriminate mass surveillance is a flagrant violation of people’s right to privacy and freedom of speech,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Deputy Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

    July 24, 2015

    Extensive powers allowing French authorities to monitor people online and offline will come into force in a matter of days after the country’s highest constitutional authority endorsed all but three sections of a new surveillance law, Amnesty International said today.

    The French government rushed the Intelligence Bill through parliament in the wake of the Paris attacks earlier this year, turning a deaf ear to strong opposition from rights groups, judges, tech companies, trade unions, lawyers and parliamentarians, as well as criticism from international human rights bodies.

    “Last night’s decision clears the last hurdle for a law that will deal a major blow to human rights in France. The surveillance measures authorized by this law are wildly out of proportion. Large swathes of France’s population could soon find themselves under surveillance on obscure grounds and without prior judicial approval,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    May 04, 2015

    France is about to take one step closer to becoming a “surveillance state” with a new bill up for a first vote on May 5th dramatically expanding the government’s power to spy on what people do online and offline.

    The authorities claim the bill is needed to better prevent terrorism and “any form of foreign interference” and promote “essential foreign policy interests”. However, the overly generic definitions are likely to leave the door open to abuse.

    Here are some of the things the French authorities will be able to do without first obtaining authorization from a judge.

    Possibly intercept all your online communications
    French authorities could be able to secretly look at the emails people send, the information they store in the cloud, their confidential online records, including medical appointments and the searches they do on engines such as Google.

    May 03, 2015

    Released 4 May 2015 00.01 GMT

    French authorities will be handed extensive powers to monitor people online and offline if the National Assembly votes to pass a new surveillance bill tomorrow, Amnesty International warned.

    The organization said the prime minister’s sign-off without court approval did not provide adequate checks and balances.

    “This bill would take France a step closer to a surveillance state where nothing is secret except the surveillance itself. Even journalists, judges, politicians and people who have unwittingly come into contact with alleged suspects could be subject to invasive surveillance,” said Gauri van Gulik, deputy director for Europe and Central Asia.

    “French authorities could soon be bugging peoples’ homes, cars and phone lines without approval from a judge, even where there is no reasonable suspicion that they have done anything wrong.”

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