Paris airport workers win back security clearance

8th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 8, 2006 (AFP) - Two Paris airport workers who had been stripped of security clearance because of fears they had links to Islamic extremists on Wednesday won back their badges after taking legal action.

PARIS, Nov 8, 2006 (AFP) - Two Paris airport workers who had been stripped of security clearance because of fears they had links to Islamic extremists on Wednesday won back their badges after taking legal action.

The two were among 72 workers at the Charles de Gaulle airport who had their security clearance withdrawn since May 2005 because of suspected ties to fundamentalist groups.

The others -- including six colleagues who had also been part of the legal action lodged against Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy -- remain barred from restricted areas at the airport.

Unions at the state-owned facility are considering strike action to protest the government's move, which they claim is discriminating against employees simply because they are Muslim.

One of those who recovered his badge Monday after a hearing at government offices near the airport, Abdelhazak Rabehi, told AFP he was angry at having been targeted.

"I was smeared. They said I was a terrorist. There is no accusation more serious than that," said the baggage handler.

He added that the company he worked for since 2002 had been preparing to fire him over the matter, before he took the legal action.

"I hope that's the end of the nightmare. Now, I'm going to call my boss and resume work," he said.

Sarkozy said last week the withdrawal of the men's security clearance was a necessary "precaution", given the suspicions and the fact they worked in proximity with passenger aircraft.

Officials at Roissy said one of the 72 was in contact with an associate of the British "shoe-bomber" Richard Reid, who was convicted of trying to blow up an American Airlines Paris to Miami flight in 2001.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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