French National Assembly approves new anti-terror measures

If passed, will allow use of video monitoring of potential terror targets.

sarkozy 298.88 (photo credit: )
sarkozy 298.88
(photo credit: )
France's parliament approved an anti-terrorism bill Thursday that will boost the use of video surveillance and allow police more time to question terror suspects. The bill, sponsored by law-and-order Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, passed its final hurdle in parliament with the vote at the National Assembly. Sarkozy, a member of the conservative ruling party, has sought to assure lawmakers the measure would not violate civil liberties, as some fear. The law will allow mosques, department stores and other potential targets to install surveillance cameras, and it will stiffen prison terms for terrorists and those providing support. It also will enable police to monitor people who travel to countries known to harbor terror-training camps, and to extend the detention period for terror suspects from four days to up to six days. France already has some of Europe's toughest anti-terrorism laws, enacted after a wave of deadly attacks in the 1990s by Algerian Islamic militants. Officials want to improve prevention and fill perceived gaps exposed by the London mass transit bombings in July that killed 56 people, including four suicide bombers. Sarkozy and other Cabinet members have often said France faces a terrorist threat - countering speculation that Paris' opposition to the US-led Iraq invasion might provide protection. On Thursday, Le Monde newspaper reported that an analysis by the French agency in charge of anti-terror cooperation considered the risk "particularly high." The document, dated December 16, was based on an analysis of internal and international politics, Le Monde said. The situation in Iraq is still a factor encouraging young Europeans to become radical and join terror networks, the report said.