The morality of the French judicial system has come under fire after a court ordered the state to pay €500 to the sole surviving perpetrator of the 2015 terrorist attacks over the violation of his privacy and detention conditions.
Placing Salah Abdeslam under constant surveillance before the adoption of the law which legalized such practice was deemed “illegal” by the Administrative Court of Versailles in March 2017, Le Figaro reported, citing the revelation in journalist Elsa Vigouroux’s book ‘The Journal of Frank Berton.’
The Belgian-born attacker was placed under 24/7 surveillance soon after he arrived at Fleury-Mérogis maximum security prison in April 2016, following an order by the Justice Minister Jean-Jaques Urvois that allowed taping of detention cells of highly dangerous criminals.
The justice minister’s order was then challenged by Frank Berton, Abdeslam’s lawyer at the time, who argued that surveillance measures violate his client’s right to privacy. In July 2016, the court in Versailles overruled the objection just as the country adopted a new anti-terror law which, among other things, allows constant surveillance of inmates deemed dangerous to society.
Following a subsequent challenge by Berton, the Administrative Court of Versailles condemned the use surveillance by state preceding the law and ordered the government to pay €500, which Abdeslam reportedly refused to accept.
The verdict of the court has attracted much criticism from the French who were quick to slam the intricacies of the legal system that had the nerve to worry about the privacy of a convicted terrorist who participated in the Paris attacks that killed over 130 people and wounded over 400 more.