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FRANCE: COUNTER-TERROR MEASURES FOLLOWING THE MURDER OF SAMUEL PATY RAISE HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS

    November 04, 2020

    On 16 October, Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old teacher, was murdered in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Paris region). An 18- year old holding refugee status in France beheaded the teacher allegedly because he had shown his students some cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed.

    On 29 October, three people were killed in a church in Nice. The main suspect is a 21-year old Tunisian national. The authorities have arrested another person who is suspected of being an accomplice. Amnesty International condemns the murders in the strongest possible terms. All our thoughts are with the families of the victims.

    French authorities have legal obligations to carry out a prompt, thorough, independent, impartial, transparent and effective investigation into the murders. Anyone suspected of being responsible should be brought to justice and judged following a fair trial. Regrettably, following the murders, the French Minister of Interior Gérald Darmanin, made announcements that raise concerns regarding the authorities’ willingness to comply with the country’s international human rights obligations.

    In the context of a hearing before the National Assembly on 2 November, the Minister provided further details regarding the government’s counter-terror measures.

    Amnesty International is concerned that the measures violate the principles of non-discrimination, non-refoulement, and the right to freedom of association.

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