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Top French court vetoes ban on consulting jihadist sites
February 10, 2017 / 11:45 AM / 10 months ago

Top French court vetoes ban on consulting jihadist sites

PARIS (Reuters) - A law in France that bans people from regularly consulting jihadist websites which urge “acts of terrorism” was ruled unconstitutional by a top judicial body on Friday.

The law was brought in last June, seven months after shooting and bomb attacks by Islamist militants that killed 130 people in Paris ushered in a state of emergency in France.

In a ruling on Friday, the 10-member constitutional court vetoed the law which sets a two-year prison sentence for consulting jihadist websites regularly, saying it infringed the freedom of communication unnecessarily and disproportionately.

A lawyer acting for a man who fell foul of the law and is now serving a two-year sentence had contested the ban.

The court said in a statement that law enforcement agencies in France had enough other resources to monitor websites which incited militancy, and people who clearly had “a terrorist intention”.

The man whose case provoked the ruling was sentenced for other offences as well and it was not immediately clear how the constitutional court’s ruling would affect his prison term.

Police and justice sources meanwhile said four people had been arrested in and around Montpellier, southern France, on suspicion of planning an attack.

Those in custody included a 20-year-old man and his 16 year-old girlfriend, both known to authorities for connections with radical Islam, after authorities found explosives and other bomb-making materials in the man’s home.

Reporting by Chine Labbé; Writing By Richard Balmforth; Editing by Louise Ireland

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