France: ‘Perpetual’ house arrest prompts vote, hunger strike

PARIS — Kamel Daoudi’s days are parceled out in intervals as unvarying as the alarm reminders on his tablet: 7 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 3:15 p.m., 5:45 p.m., 9:00 p.m.

The times represent his nightly curfew and the exact minutes Daoudi must report to a French police precinct — terms of the house arrest he has lived under since 2008. A vote scheduled for Thursday is expected to continue “open-air prison” indefinitely.

Convicted in 2005 for a plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Paris, Daoudi was stripped of his French citizenship while awaiting trial and ordered expelled to Algeria, the country of his birth, after he served six years in prison.

But France has been repeatedly warned by Europe’s top human rights court not to deport people to Algeria, which has a checkered history of torture and other human rights abuses. French officials took heed in Daoudi’s case, but and imposed his indefinite house arrest in return.

He appealed to France’s highest court, which ruled in his favour on Nov. 30 and gave lawmakers until June 30 to provide the legal justification for the house arrest.

The vote scheduled for Thursday does just that — a measure allowing non-citizens who cannot be deported and are considered dangerous to have their movements indefinitely restricted. It also makes it easier to detain asylum-seekers who are considered flight risks.

“We absolutely have to be able to monitor the presence in France of potentially dangerous people, including some who have been convicted of terrorism,” Senator Francois-Noel Buffet said in a Jan. 25 debate, acknowledging the revised law may be imperfect,

In what he called a desperate protest, Daoudi began a 133-hour hunger strike on Feb. 7, refusing food and drink until he risked missing one of his required daily check-ins. He recognizes the strike was almost certainly a vain effort to change lawmakers’ minds.

“There’s the rule, there are the exceptions, and there are the exceptions to the exceptions that give legal status to perpetual house arrest,” he said in a phone interview on Day 2 of his hunger strike.

Daoudi, 43, has been required to move repeatedly since he first was placed under house arrest. His French wife and children stayed behind when he was relocated last year for the fifth time, 500 kilometres away to the southwestern town of Saint-Jean-d’Angely.

His wife left their children with relatives to be with him during the hunger strike. By Monday, she had taken …read more

Source:: Nationalpost


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