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On June 19th 2009, the French prime minister Fillon issued an executive order 2009-724 forbidding citizens to cover their faces in an area where a gathering is taking place. Covering his own face without a “legitimate reason” and if there is risk of “a breach of public order” carries a penalty of a €1,500 fine (art. R645-14 of the penal code).

On April 11th 2011, Act 2010-1192 entered into force. It forbids citizens to cover their faces in any area open to the public unless the covering is legally required, work-related, on health ground, to practice sport or during artistic and “traditional” events. Under this law, covering his own face illegally carries a penalty of a €150 fine.

The prime minister Fillon requested public employees to forbid entrance to all public facilities (train stations, metro stations, airports, courts, prisons, police stations, museums, schools, universities, hospitals, stadiums, libraries, town-halls, polling stations, driving license offices, immigration and asylum offices…) and to refuse service to citizens on the ground that their face is covered (note PRMC1106214C) even though the citizen is offering to show his face for identification purpose. In Paris, two women covering their face were arrested by male plainclothes police officers preventing them to express their opinions to journalists and to demonstrate peacefully (see below video).

On the same day Ms. S.A.S a Muslim woman, filed an application to the ECHR on the ground that the criminalization of the covering of her face when she is in areas open to public, is a violation of her right to privacy (art.8), her freedom of religion (art.9), her freedom of expression (art.10) and her freedom to peaceful assembly (art.11). She added that the ban from public facilities, the refusal of service and the risk to be fined were degrading treatments in violation of article 3. She stated that these discriminatory policies were also in violation of article 14 of the Convention.

On February 1st 2012, the application was communicated to the agent of the French Republic with questions to be answered within 16 weeks. The applicant is represented by Mr. Sanjeev Sharma (Birmingham, UK).

On August 28th 2001, the antitrust commission (Conseil de la concurrence) opened an investigation on the market of mobile network operators in France. On May 14th 2004, a report made by the consumer protection agency of the ministry of economy and finance (DGCCRF) was transmitted to the antitrust commission. On August 24th 2005, an article in the French weekly Canard Enchaine  revealed some information contained in the report.

On November 30th 2005, the antitrust commission condemned the mobile network operator Bouygues Telecom to a fine of €58 millions (decision 05-D-65) for violations of article L.420-1 of the code of commerce. On December 12th 2006, the appeal court of Paris rejected the appeal of Bouygues Telecom (decision 2006/00048) after receiving briefs from the ministry of economy and finance and the antitrust commission. On June 29th 2007, the appeal of Bouygues Telecom to the supreme court (Cour de cassation) failed (case 07-10303).

On December 20th 2007, Bouygues Telecom filed an application with the ECHR arguing that the lack of public hearing before the antitrust commission gave its decision, the submission of briefs by the ministry of economy and finance, and the antitrust commission during the appeal trial were violations of article 6-1 of the Convention. The applicant added that the leaking of the report to the press was a violation of article 6-2. On January 17th 2012, the application was communicated to the agent of the French Republic with questions to be answered within 16 weeks. The applicant is represented by Me Alain Benabent (Paris).

On December 23rd 2008, Mr. I.M was arrested for “unlawful entry” and for “using forged documents” at the railway station of Cerbère in France. During his police custody, his claim for asylum was not recorded by the police officer. He was then detained awaiting trial. On December 26th 2008, he was condemned in a “fast track” trial to one month in jail for “unlawful entry” (art.L621-1 of the code of migration and asylum) despite article 31-1 of the Geneva Convention of 1951. During his detention, another claim for asylum was not recorded.

On January 7th 2009, the local prefect ordered the deportation of Mr. I.M to Sudan. On January 12th 2009, the appeal against his deportation order was rejected by an administrative judge of the administrative tribunal of Montpellier.

On January 16th 2009, he was detained at the immigration detention center of Perpignan awaiting his deportation to Sudan. On January 22th 2009, his claim for asylum was recorded by OFPRA and classified automatically “fast track” (art.L723-1 of the code of migration and asylum). On January 30th 2009, he was interviewed by a case worker of OFPRA and his application was denied the same day. Mr. I.M appealed the decision to the court (CNDA). Nevertheless, on February 11th 2009, Mr. I.M was brought by French police officers to the consulate of Sudan to obtain travel document for his deportation.

On February 16th 2009, Mr. I.M filed an application with the ECHR on the ground that his deportation to Sudan will be a violation of article 3 of the Convention and that the lack of effective remedy a violation of article 13. The same day, the president of the 5th section requested the French Republic to suspend the deportation of the applicant pending a decision of the ECHR (Rule 39). On May 12th 2009, the application was communicated to the agent of the French Republic with questions to be answered within 16 weeks. On December 14th 2010, the application was found admissible. On May 17th 2011, the Court held a public hearing . UNHCR submitted 2 briefs “amicus curiae” (2009, 2011) and intervened during public hearing.

On February 2nd 2012, the 5th section of the ECHR ruled that the allegation of violation of article 3 was inadmissible on the ground that on October 14th 2010 the court (CNDA) granted the applicant refugee status (art.35-3-a). The Court found a violation of articles 13 and 3 of the Convention because the applicant received an unsatisfying legal and interpreting assistance from the duty lawyer (§155) and from the on site NGO Cimade (§145). The Court added that for detained asylum seekers, the automatic classification of their cases as “fast track“, the difficultly to gather evidence, and the shorter delays to claim asylum (5 days) and to appeal their deportation orders (48h) limited severely their access to domestic remedies.

The judgment ordered the French Republic to pay €0 in damages and €4,746.25 in legal fees to the applicant. He was represented by Me Gabriele Summerfield (Perpignan).

On n/a, Ms. Fernandez was informed by a notice of December 15th 2006 that she was suspected of speeding at n/a on the road n/a in n/a on September 13th 2006 at n/a (art. R413-14 of the road code).

On n/a, she had to deposit €180 to get her non-guilty plea registered by the prosecutor (art.530 of the code of penal procedure).

On January 7th 2008, the applicant appeared in court without being able to get access to the prosecution file of evidence of her case. She was not assisted by a lawyer and wasn’t informed when the judgment will be given (art.462 of the code of penal procedure). On n/a, the judge found her guilty of n/a and condemned her to a fine of €135, to administrative cost of €22. Following the condemnation, she automatically lost 1 point out of her 12 points driving license.

On February 18th 2008, she filed an appeal to the supreme court (Cour de cassation) against the judgement. On May 3rd 2010, she was informed that on September 17th 2008 the supreme court ruled her appeal inadmissible (art.605 of the code of penal procedure) for a violation of article 568 of the code of penal.

On October 29th 2010, she filed an application to the ECHR on the ground that the lack of access to the prosecution file of evidence was a violation of article 6-1 of the Convention. She added that the lack of formal notification of the judgment of Montpellier was a violation of article 6-1 and 13, and that the requirement to file in person her appeal to the supreme court, was a violation of article 6,13 and 14 of the Convention. She stated that the prosecutor was not required to file in person his appeal.

On January 17th 2012, the 5th section of the Court ruled her application inadmissible on the surprising ground that because the administrative judge Fernandez was condemned to a fine of €135, “the applicant has not suffered significant disadvantage regarding her right to a fair trial” (art.35-3-b) of the Convention).

On October 6th 2011, the 5th section of the Court ruled in judgment Wagner v. Luxembourg (43490/08) that the allegation of violation of article 6-1 during proceedings following which the applicant lost 4 points out of his 12 points driving license, was admissible (§25).

On March 18th 1997, the Court found in judgment Foucher v. France (22209/93) that the lack of access of the accused to the prosecution file of evidence was a violation of article 6-1 and 6-3 of the Convention. In this case, Mr. Foucher was condemned to a fine of €457 for insults.

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