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French soldiers deployed in Paris, at the Louvre Museum. Photo credit: Fabien Maurin
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In 4 years, 343 terror convicts have been released in France

Prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences are monitored by the judiciary and intelligence services upon their release. This has been a huge cost to French taxpayers.

Published: November 26, 2022, 6:18 am

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    What happens to men and women convicted of acts related to Islamist terrorism in France? As FranceInfo reported on November 14, they are released after their sentence and placed under judicial and intelligence surveillance. In total in 4 years, 343 have been released from prison, including 72 in 2022.

    The Ministry of Justice indicated that 406 “TIS” prisoners (Islamic Terrorists) are still behind bars on French territory.

    Control measures

    Some of these detainees were convicted of having left to wage jihad in Syria and found guilty of “criminal association of a terrorist nature”. After having served a few years in prison, they are in 80 percent of cases subject to an Individual Administrative Control and Surveillance Measure (MICAS).

    In concrete terms, this measure obliges released individuals, for example, to report to the police twice a day for several months. Some must also report to the local DGSI office once a day and be monitored by a psychologist.

    In rare cases, those convicted of terrorism are also confronted with the loss of nationality, a means for the intelligence services to obtain the removal of some prison leavers. The deprivation of nationality of people convicted of terrorism is nevertheless very rare (about ten since 2020) but it is a way to deal with the threat.

    The internal intelligence services apply common sense: For them, an Islamist who has been involved in violent action has every chance of remaining in the movement and reoffending.

    “All people who come out of prison after having served a sentence for terrorism must be monitored. It’s a certainty,” argued one of the heads of UCLAT, the DGSI unit that coordinates the monitoring of those leaving prison. Potentially, they can indeed take action again or try to take action again.

    “We are perfectly aware of the very slim probability of disengagement of people who have been convicted of terrorist acts. We have had to hinder convicted terrorists again, after their release from prison or in the years that followed, because they were once again plotting a terrorist action. For us, this is a reality.”

    Leftist judiciary protect potential attackers

    However, these post-detention measures posed a legal problem for leftist lawyer Dylan Slama. Indeed, the lawyer told FranceInfo that there was a before and after the attack in the church of Saint-Etienne de Rouveray committed in 2016 by a former radicalised prisoner wearing an electronic bracelet.

    “I think that this case has created a real trauma among judges who will be making a decision guided by the fear that ‘something could happen if I take a less restrictive measure’.”

    However, he reminded his audience that after serving their full sentence, individuals should be free because they had paid their “debt to society”.

    “Imposing administrative constraints on an individual not for what he has done, but for what he is likely to do, is in my view a serious problem.”

    Voters blame Macron for insecurity

    In France, insecurity seems to be present in all regions, based on the many news items that regularly make the headlines. It is a concern that worries many French people. Last summer, a survey carried out by Ifop on behalf of the Journal du dimanche highlighted the fact that 75 percent of those polled felt that Emmanuel Macron’s record on security was negative.

    More recently, the Institute for Justice told Le Figaro that it had lodged an administrative appeal with the Ministry of the Interior for the State’s inaction on crime. As reported by our colleagues in an article published on Saturday 19 November, this association wishes, in this way, to force the public authorities to take new actions to restore order.

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