National Assembly adopts Sarkozy crime bill

6th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 5, 2006 (AFP) - France's National Assembly on Tuesday adopted a hotly-contested youth crime bill drawn up by the centre-right presidential frontrunner Nicolas Sarkozy as a response to last year's riots.

PARIS, Dec 5, 2006 (AFP) - France's National Assembly on Tuesday adopted a hotly-contested youth crime bill drawn up by the centre-right presidential frontrunner Nicolas Sarkozy as a response to last year's riots.

Cast as a response to the problem of lawlessness in riot-hit suburbs, the bill is set to be one of Sarkozy's last major initiatives as interior minister before he stands down to focus on next year's presidential race.

The bill -- approved by the Senate on first reading -- was easily adopted in the lower house National Assembly where the ruling centre-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) has a majority. It now returns to the Senate for a second reading.

Critics have attacked the text -- which toughens penalties for young repeat offenders, lowers the minimum age of detention to 13, and introduces new educational sentences for children as young as 10 -- as overly repressive.

Aimed directly at young rioters, the legislation also introduces specific new offences such as "ambushing law enforcement officers" or attacking bus drivers, in response to a recent spate of violence in the suburbs.

Law and order is shaping up as a pivotal issue in next April's election, with police chiefs warning that the conditions that caused the 2005 riots in high-immigration suburbs across France still remain firmly in place.

Sarkozy's crime bill is the 10th piece of crime-related legislation to go before the French parliament in the past five years.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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