PARIS — In case of a swine flu pandemic the French government has a plan to introduce emergency measures that would gut legal protections for citizens, the daily Liberation reported Tuesday.
According to documents provided to the daily by a judges’ union, the plan would extend the period police can keep a suspect in detention without charge or a hearing before a judge to up to six months.
Suspects would also not be able to contact a lawyer until after spending 24 hours in custody.
Under the plan children could be tried in adult courts and more trials held behind closed doors.
[A report by the] Syndicat de la Magistrature called the measures “revolting” and said they would amount to “liberticide,” and called on Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie to abandon the plan.
The union was due to release on Tuesday the text of the government plan, which it said was provided to heads of courts in great secrecy in July, the newspaper reported.
Swine flu, or the A(H1N1) virus, the first pandemic to be declared by the World Health Organization in this century, has so far claimed 15 lives in France, out of at least 2,837 worldwide.
The French government has conducted extensive planning to prepare for an expected new wave of infections as the autumn flu season approaches in the northern hemisphere.
Ed. Note: What follows is partial translation of a LeMonde article, posted at Jane Burgermeister’s site:
French judges protest secret pandemic tyranny decrees
The union of judges and lawyers in France has written a letter of protest to the French Justice Minister over plans to strip people of their civil liberties during the swine flu pandemic, which were made “in the greatest secrecy.”
According to a report in Le Monde on Tuesday, the lawyer’s union has fiercely criticised the decree which would dismantle the civic rights of the people of France in the name of a pandemic emergency and which was issued without any “democratic debate”….
Emmanuelle Perreux, president of the judge’s union said that it was “unacceptable” for the government to remove people’s fundamental liberties by secret decree on the pretext of a pandemic emergency.
She said that she hoped that parliament would intervene after the revelation on Tuesday that the French Minister of Justice Michele Alliot-Marie had circulated orders in secret in July instructign judges to allow children to be put on trial in adult courts and detentions without any court order in the name of a pandemic emergency.
Alliot-Marie denied that there was “any secret plan” and claimed the secret orders were a provisional working document as outrage in France over the secret vaccination and detention plans that are now attracting widespread coverage in the mainstream media mounts….