'French police couldn't detain Merah before attack'

France's PM says police had no evidence that would have allowed arrest of gunman before Toulouse murders, AFP reports.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
March 23, 2012 11:11
1 minute read.
France's Prime Minister Francois Fillon

France's Prime Minister Francois Fillon 311(R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Lukas Barth/Pool)

The French police had no grounds to arrest gunman Mohamed Merah, prior to the murder of four people at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Friday, according to AFP.

Fillon told French radio that "there was no single element" that could have allowed police to detain Merah. "We don't have the right in a country like ours to permanently monitor without judicial authorisation someone who hasn't committed an offense... We live in a state of law."

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday praise security forces, saying everything was done in order to bring the killer to justice.

"We don't have the right in a country like ours to permanently monitor without judicial authorization someone who hasn't committed an offense... We live in a state of law."

Sarkozy on Thursday praised security forces for ensuring that the "horrible killer" who shot to death three Jewish school children, a rabbi and three soldiers, "is no longer in a position to bring harm." Speaking less than two hours after Toulouse shooting suspect Mohamed Merah was killed in a police raid, Sarkozy outlined new tools for law enforcement to use against terrorists and called for national unity.

The French president said that everything was done in order to bring the killer to justice. Addressing his ultimate death, however, he said it had not been acceptable to risk more lives to do so.

Sarkozy called on citizens of the French Republic not to vent their anger against their fellow Muslim citizens, who "have nothing to do with these crazy terrorists."

In a press conference just over an hour after Merah was killed, Sarkozy announced new tools he and the French prime minister would implement in order to deal with terrorism suspects.

Those habitually visiting websites that praise terrorism or call for hatred and violence will be criminally punished, he said. Likewise, those going to foreign countries for terrorist training or indoctrination will be criminally punished.

Additionally, Sarkozy said he instructed his justice minister to conduct an in-depth study into the propagation of extremist ideologies in France's prison system, where Merah spent some time.


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