Coming up

Don't miss




Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more


Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more


Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more


Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more


Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more


French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more


Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more


Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more


French minorities accuse state of racial profiling

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-04-13

Lawyers representing 15 French people of black or Arab descent filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the French Interior Ministry for the police force's alleged racial profiling.

AP - Lawyers for 15 French people, either black or of Arab descent, filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the state for abusive identity checks based on alleged racial profiling.

A lawyer for the group said they were routinely targeted for police identity checks that often included humiliating public body pat downs, insults and even threats because of the way they look.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers said this was the first such collective action in France to tackle abusive identity checks, a problem documented by several studies. The lawsuit against the French state targets the Interior Ministry, which oversees police.

The 15 were subjected to police checks between September and February. Their names were among those who responded to a hotline set up by the collective Stop Racial Profiling for people who felt they were unjustly checked by police.

The lawyers conceded that it is hard to prove that a police check constitutes racial profiling because there is no written evidence that a check was warranted or that one even occurred. The aim of the action is to ensure guidelines for police checks and a police report for each check carried out.

The people who brought the action have no police records, but were subjected to police identity checks, body searches, insults, humiliation because to police they appeared suspicious because of their skin color or origin, attorney Felix de Belloy said.

“When they ask why, the police say, ‘shut up,” de Belloy said at a news conference at the Justice Palace after filing the suit. “It is essential to understand that this is not the law ... This practice is discriminatory and must end.”

The lawyers estimated that because this is a civil action the case would likely not go to court for some 18 months. The Interior Ministry sought more time when asked earlier to respond to their complaint, the lawyers said.

One of the plaintiffs, a 32-year-old black who identified himself by his first name only, Bocar, said police grabbed him as he left the family home in the northern Paris working class suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis even though he was with a younger sister and brother.

They “put me in front of a wall and ... said ‘If you don’t cooperate we’ll Taser you,’ waving the Taser gun at him, he said. They then patted him down.

That experience, one of several checks, was “particularly violent and abusive,” Bocar said.
The legal action is backed by the Open Society Justice Initiative, the Union of French Lawyers and the Stop Racial Profiling group.

A study conducted in Paris by the Open Society Justice Initiative with France’s National Center for Scientific Research showed that blacks have six times more chance of being subjected to police checks than whites and those of Arab origin have eight times more chance.

A report Human Rights Watch on abusive identity checks, released in January, said that black and Arab men and boys as young as 13 were singled out for abusive identity checks. That report was based on dozens of interviews in Paris, Lyon and Lille.

“The legal framework is too broad,” said Lanna Hollo, a lawyer for Open Society Justice Initiative. “There is no record of the check so that means there is no possibility to know why or to do anything about it.”

Identity checks, she said, “should be based on suspicious behavior, not appearance,” she said.

The lawyers would like the searches to be based on “objectively reasonable suspicious behavior,” Hollo said.

Axiom, a 37-year-old militant rapper who is a member of the collective, said he has been controlled by police about 100 times in his lifetime, particularly in his youth, but has no police record.

“We cannot prove we’ve been controlled or how often,” he said, adding that such checks are common in heavily immigrant working class neighborhoods.

“The people we represent are considered citizens of the second zone,” said attorney Slim Ben Achour. “They have a right not to be reduced to their color.”

Date created : 2012-04-12

  • USA

    Obama weighs in on murder of unarmed black teen

    Read more


    Thousands march in Paris for racial harmony

    Read more


    Two found guilty of Stephen Lawrence race murder in UK

    Read more