Former jihadist Kamel Daoudi appeals to European Court of Human Rights regarding house arrest

Convicted in 2005 for a plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Paris, Kamel Daoudi was stripped of his French citizenship while awaiting trial and ordered expelled to Algeria, the country of his birth, after he served six years in prison.

But France has been repeatedly warned by Europe’s top human rights court not to deport people to Algeria, which has a checkered history of torture and other human rights abuses. French officials took heed in Daoudi’s case, but imposed his indefinite house arrest in return. Daoudi appealed to France’s highest court, which ruled in his favor on Nov. 30 2017 and gave lawmakers until June 30 2018 to provide the legal justification for the house arrest.

He has since appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR). For Bruno Vinay, Kamel Daoudi’s lawyer, “the primary goal [of the sentence] is to reduce a man’s dignity to nothing.” He has posed two questions to the ECHR: “When one is under house arrest, as under the conditions of Kamel Daoudi, is he deprived of his liberty or are these simply restrictions on his freedom?” As well as, “can a measure of administrative residency be for an indefinite duration?”

Two weeks ago Vinay filed a priority issue of constitutionality (QPC). Kamel Daoudi must appear in the Criminal Court of Saintes (Charente-Maritime) on December 20 because he left his house to take a family bike ride and broke his curfew.

His lawyer intends to challenge a ruling passed last March following an opinion by the Constitutional Council. The latter had stated in December 2017 that ongoing house arrest did not violate the Constitution, while maintaining that beyond five years, the administration had to “justify particular circumstances requiring the maintenance of assignment.”  The “threat to public order” has since been adopted by the legislator. This is a “criterion that is too vague for a law [and] solves nothing,” says Vinay.

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