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Nicolas Sarkozy introduces tough antiterrorism bill in France

President Nicolas Sarkozy's government has introduced an antiterrorism bill that he proposed after series of attacks in the France and as a presidential election looms.

France election nicolas sarkozy schengen 2012 03 12Enlarge
Sunday's Paris rally represented an attempt to recreate the excitement of Sarkozy’s successful 2007 campaign, with the French cabinet, Sarkozy’s wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, former Prime Minister Édouard Balladur and the actor Gérard Depardieu gathered together for the event. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)

President Nicolas Sarkozy's government has introduced an antiterrorism bill that he proposed after series of attacks in the France and as a presidential election looms.

The bill, if approved by parliament, would punish those who visit extremist websites that promote terrorism or travel to weapons training camps abroad, according to the Associated Press.

Offenders could be sued and convicted before they commit terrorist acts on French soil, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Sarkozy pledged the measures hours after the death of Mohamed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian descent who murdered four people at a Jewish school and three soldiers last month in and around the southwestern city of Toulouse.

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The 23-year-old, a self-proclaimed Al Qaeda militant whose shooting spree led to a two-day suspension of the election campaign, was killed after a 33-hour standoff with police. 

The opposition Socialists have labeled the antiterrorism bill an election vote grab: According to Dow Jones, Parliament doesn't meet before the elections beginning April 22, so the bill won't come into law unless Sarkozy gets a second mandate.

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The latest polls have forecast that Sarkozy will lose to the Socialist candidate François Hollande in a second-round runoff on May 6.

The Socialists say France's legal arsenal against terrorism is already strong enough.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/france/120412/nicolas-sarkozy-antiterrorism-france