France hardens stance on dual-national terror convicts, state of emergency

PARIS -- France's government hardened its position toward dual-national terrorism convicts Wednesday, saying they deserved to have their citizenship revoked as part of a series of constitutional changes upholding the state of emergency imposed after the Nov.

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13 attacks.

In a speech presenting the proposed changes to France's constitution, Prime Minister Manuel Valls also left open the possibility of prolonging the state of emergency beyond its current three-month window, describing an "unparalleled extraordinary situation, an unprecedented fight."

One hundred and thirty people died and hundreds were wounded in the Paris attacks, which were carried out in the name of the Islamic State group largely by French and Belgian extremists. Afterward, the state of emergency allowed security forces to impose house arrests and carry out searches without a warrant.

Valls said in 40 days, 2,900 searches had netted 443 weapons, including 40 military-grade arms.

In all, 1,000 people have left from France to join extremists in Syria and Iraq, Valls said, by far the largest contingent from Western Europe.

"We know that the fighters are often grouped according to their language, to train and prepare actions on our soil," he said.

This appears to have been the case for at least some of the Nov. 13 attackers, who included French-speaking men who had left to fight for Islamic State.

The plan to revoke citizenship for terror convicts has caused fissures in the Socialist government. But France's justice minister, Christiane Taubira, who had said she was opposed to the measure, was on stage next to Valls when he announced it.

"It is a highly symbolic measure," Valls said. "This is a strong punishment that the nation is lawfully entitled to impose upon someone who commits the ultimate betrayal."



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