In its effort to fight terrorism, France routinely arrests and prosecutes people for being associated with possible terror suspects, undermining international fair trial standards, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a new report released July 2. The 84-page report, “Preempting Justice: Counterterrorism Laws and Procedures in France,” looks at how France uses a vaguely defined ‘terrorism association offense’ to arrest large numbers of people based on minimal evidence. The lack of appropriate safeguards within the criminal justice system puts France on the wrong side of human rights law, the report says. ?Using the criminal justice system is the right way to fight terrorism,? said Judith Sunderland, Europe and Central Asia researcher at HRW. ?But prosecuting people because of who they know and what they think sacrifices basic rights, and that is wrong in principle and dangerous in practice.?
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