Court approves stripping nationality of Franco-Moroccan fighter

Decision comes after Hollande's socialist government unveils new security measure follow the attack in Paris earlier this month.

Court approves stripping nationality of Franco-Moroccan fighter

World Bulletin / News Desk


France's top court ruled on Friday it was possible to strip the nationality of a Franco-Moroccan man naturalised as French who was convicted on terrorism charges, paving the way for more dual nationality fighters to lose their passports.

While Britain last year unveiled powers to strip suspected fighters of their passports temporarily, France has so far stopped short of using the measure systematically even though hundreds of fighters are joining Islamic groups in Iraq and Syria.

The move comes after President Francois Hollande's Socialist government unveiled a raft of new security measures weeks after two attacks in Paris by Islamic militants which killed 17 people and the three attackers.

"We should not, in any case, deprive ourselves of lawful means to ensure our values are respected," Prime Minister Manuel Valls told journalists near Paris.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement: "the government will continue to take the decision to strip (nationality) whenever legal conditions are appropriate."

Franco-Moroccan Ahmed Sahnouni el-Yaacoubi, naturalised in 2003, had appealed to the Constitutional Court to reverse a decision to strip him of his nationality when he was convicted in 2013 for conspiracy to commit terrorist acts.

While the Civil law code dictates that a naturalised person can be stripped of their French passport if convicted on terrorism charges, the measure has only been used on eight occasions since 1998, according to a lawmaker.

El-Yaacoubi's lawyer argued that removing his French passport violated human rights because it set him apart from native-born citizens.

"The Constitutional Court noted that people having acquired French nationality and those to whom French nationality was given at birth are in the same situation, but that the difference in treatment, which was created to fight terrorism, does not violate the principle of equality," the court wrote in a statement.

Nurettin Meseci, el-Yaacoubi's lawyer, criticised a decision he said was taken in an "emotional context" which was unfavourable to his client.

Proceedings will be undertaken to have el-Yaacoubi, found guilty of recruiting jihadists online, notably to fight inAfghanistan, deported to Morocco. But given that judicial cooperation between France and Morocco has been suspended since Feb., 2014, they could drag.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Ocak 2015, 15:18