French MPs ponder return of 'national unworthiness' crime


President François Hollande's socialist government has been at the centre of a political controversy since it announced that convicted dual-national terrorists would be stripped of French nationality. Many of its own supporters on the Left, including senior figures, are bitterly opposed to the idea. Now, as an alternative, some party MPs are suggesting a revival of the old offence of “national unworthiness”, which would entail the citizen concerned losing their civil rights and status, and which was last used at the end of World War II. Mathieu Magnaudeix explains.

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For the moment President François Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls are unwilling to consider the option. But for many in the ruling Socialist Party (PS) the creation of a new status of “national unworthiness” is increasingly being seen as a less unpalatable option than the deeply controversial plan by the government to strip French nationality from anyone convicted of a terrorist offence, a move that has split the French Left.