The four dual Moroccan nationals and a Turkish-French man had direct links with the terror organization that carried out the Casablanca terror attack in 2003, in which 45 people died.
Rabat – The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said France’s decision to strip five dual nationals of their French nationality, including four former Moroccan convicts of terrorism charges, does not “violate human rights.”
The ECHR issued a press release to convey its arguments on the case today, June 25.
The statement said the five binational men, including a French-Turkish former convict, were sentenced in 2007 to six to eight years in prison for “participation in a criminal association for the purpose of preparing a terrorist act.”
The suspects received the sentences for their direct links with the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group. The cell was responsible for the Casablanca terror attacks of May 16, 2003, which killed 45 people, including three French victims.
The terror act also resulted in injuries among 100 people.
The convicts were released in 2009 and 2010 and France stripped them of their nationality in October 2015, Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported.
ECHR said France’s decision to deprive the former convicts of their nationality “did not have disproportionate consequences on their private life.”
The statement argues that terror violence “constitutes in itself a serious threat to human rights,” emphasizing that the loss of nationality had not made them stateless since they all have another nationality.
“The loss of French nationality did not automatically lead to removal from the territory,” the statement emphasizes.
Vincent Bregarth, one of the lawyers who represented the former convicts, said the men have “always worked and all have family.”
“[The men] have demonstrated their republican integration,” the lawyer said.
Activists have long criticized France and Belgium for their decisions to strip terror convicts of their nationality.
The Economist reported in 2016 that France undertook a raft of counter terrorism measures after the November 2017 attacks in Paris.
The magazine mentioned how French citizens deplored the decision to strip dual citizens of French citizenship.
“Many French citizens with dual citizenship from North African countries sense that they—not Franco-Germans or Franco-Americans, say—are the only dual citizens that lawmakers really have in mind,” said the Economist.
French authorities stripped several other dual French-Moroccan nationals of their citizenship.
One of the recent cases dates back to October 2019, when France stripped a 20-year-old French-Moroccan man of his citizenship for attempting to travel to Syria only a few days after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015.
The French Ministry of Interior said last year that it had stripped 16 people of French nationality since 2002 due to terrorism charges, including five in 2015.
French authorities have the right to deprive people of citizenship if they are dual nationals for specific reasons including treason and terrorism.
In June 2019, French authorities also stripped a French-Moroccan of his French nationality for conspiring to join terrorism activities in Afghanistan.