Letter of June 1 st 2003 from Jacques Gaillot
The end of the double sentence?





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The end of the double sentence?

la double peine After twenty years of struggle and suffering, a bill to end the double sentence will be finally introduced in the National Assembly in June. When a foreigner was finishing his time in prison for a crime he had committed, he was yet to receive a second sentence by being expulsed from the French territory. Prison + expulsion = double sentence.  
Each year, 5,000 to 6,000 persons were victims of this double sentence. Many found themselves expulsed to a country that was completely foreign to them and without even knowing its language. Far from their family, their obsession was to come back!

During the last twenty years, in various cities of France, I remember going to comfort and support victims of the double sentence being on hunger strike. They were born or arrived at a very young age in France. They had a family with young children. Their wives were courageous and fully supportive. These men have spent most of their life in our country. Why force them to leave the French territory to a country that they don't know?

The law of double sentence is a scandal. It is inhuman. The movie producer Bernard Tavernier has been courageous enough to make a film called: "Stories about broken lives" 

vies brisées

Lawyers had requested the application of Article 17 of the International Treaty regarding civil and political rights: "Nobody can be submitted to arbitrary or illegal enquiry of his private life, his family…" and Article 8 of the European Convention of human rights and fundamental liberties: "Everybody is entitled to the respect of his private and family life and of his correspondence".

fraternelle Fortunately, private associations have demonstrated against the double sentence under the principle that foreigners and French citizens should endure the same sentences.  
Public opinion has been made aware of this. It was time at last! But this useless law has caused immense suffering.