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07/12/2005French judges oppose deportation over riots
PONTOISE, France, Dec 7 (AFP) - French judges on Wednesday opposed a decision to deport a 21-year-old Mauritanian man accused of taking part in last month's wave of suburban rioting.
The man, who has lived in France since the age of three, faces a deportation order issued by the prefecture, or state-appointed local government authority, in Cergy, northwest of the capital.
An official letter advising him of his deportation accuses him of committing "grave acts of violence against a law enforcement officer" even though he was released without charge following his arrest last month.
He denies taking part in the violence.
A consultative panel of judges in nearby Pontoise ruled against the deportation on the grounds that the charges against him "have not been established".
The panel said the man, who holds valid residency papers, had no past convictions and appeared to be well integrated into French society, and argued that his presence "on French territory was not a threat to public order".
The final decision rests with the prefecture in Cergy.
Three weeks of unrest broke out in suburbs across France with large numbers of inhabitants of immigrant origin in late October, with arson attacks on almost 10,000 cars and on public property leading to nearly 3,000 arrests.
The violence was largely attributed to youths of families from France's former colonial possessions in north and west Africa, who feel they are the victims of racism, chronic unemployment and police harassment.
Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said on Sunday that deportation procedures were being carried out against seven of the 83 foreign nationals arrested over the riots.
The UN Committee Against Torture voiced concern last month that the French decision to deport foreigners over the riots could have a discriminatory effect and that those concerned could be denied a fair trial.
Subject: French news
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