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French Intelligence Bill: French President Hollande to shut down public debate

Paris, April 20, 2015 — French President François Hollande announced yesterday that he would bring the Intelligence Bill before the Constitutional Council. At the same time there is growing criticism from all sides, previous support in favour of the bill crumbles. In this light, French president's announcement look nothing more than an evasive action to avoid public debate on crucial provisions. La Quadrature du Net calls on parliamentarians to decide for themselves whether the bill complies or not with fundamental rights and citizens must then hold them accountable.

On Saturday morning, the Socialist deputy chairman of the Defense Committee in the National Assembly Nicolas Bays announced (fr): "Having followed all the debates, read everyone's arguments, on May 5, in good faith, I will vote against the [French] Intelligence Bill". Meanwhile, Pierre Lellouche, the UMP expert on security and defense speaking on French national radio France Inter (fr), put forward a strong criticism towards the human rights violations of the bill. Just a number of examples among others which indicate that the more intense and lengthy the debates, the more likely other parliamentarians will be swayed by public opposition and human rights defenders.

In these circumstances, François Hollande's announcement should be understood as an attempt to deter the parliamentarians from their duty to make their own assessment of whether treaty and constitutional rights are respected. La Quadrature du Net calls on all parliamentarians to play their role and disregard a possible appeal that would, in all likelihood, lack proper legal arguments illustrating the text flaws.

We also call on the citizens to stay mobilised and to take part in actions up to the eve of the formal vote on May 5, to demonstrate that they will tolerate neither widespread surveillance provisions nor any other violations of their fundamental rights contained in this bill. Each member of the French parliament should be held accountable for the positions they will take during these debates.