Abdul Rahim Ali
The French Revolution of 1789 opened the door wide for a series of uprisings against all European monarchies.
The revolution gave hope to peoples that democratic rule can prevail at last. It gave the go-ahead signal for the emergence of republics and constitutional monarchies in Europe.
The French Revolution raised three important slogans, ones that France continues to cherish until now, namely freedom, prosperity and equality.
However, none of those who were at the forefront of the revolution or those who inherited its great legacy had ever imagined that a series of exceptional measures would be taken in their country one day to counter a phenomenon totally foreign to this country: terrorism.
French Prime Minister Eouard Philippe has recently unveiled a series of important legal and administrative measures, which are unprecedented in the history of the fight against terrorism in France as a whole.
The measures include the creation of a new terrorism prosecutor’s office. Working in the office will be 30 investigation magistrates who will be aided by a large number of legal experts; intelligence officers; policemen, and investigation specialists.
Philippe was at the headquarters of the domestic intelligence agency at the time of declaring the new counterterrorism plan. He also declared it on the eve of the revolution anniversary. This sends a large number of inherent messages.
He said the new prosecutor’s office would investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity.
It will also be responsible, he said, for investigating acts that jeopardize France’s national security and the leaking of military and state secrets.
This, in fact, puts the French press in big trouble.
Together with the aforementioned measures, the French Prime Minister said, a new agency would be established to apply penalties in terrorism-related crimes, penalties hampered by the current French law. This will bring about swift justice.
Most outstanding among the new measures still was the decision of the French premier to create a new unit responsible for the surveillance of, not only terrorists who had already served their prison terms, but also all suspicious Islamist radicals.
This is a precautionary measure impeded for long by French laws.
The measures, at the same time, included eight other secret ones. These eight measures were not announced to protect French national security. They are not expected to be debated by the French parliament either.
The question now is: What will the reaction of the so-called human rights advocates be like if the Egyptian government takes similar measures?