“My wife called me saying, ‘Halim, there were some very big serious police officers who just came to the house.'”

– Halim Abdelmalek

Europe has suffered a series of terrorist attacks, and now France, one of the countries hardest hit is adjusting to this elevated threat. Recently, the French Parliament passed yet another law giving state police and judicial authorities new powers to detain people suspected of terrorist activities, put people under house arrest, and use deadly force to stop potential threats.

Since the shootings at the offices of Charlie Hebdo last March and the attacks in November that killed 130 people, French people have been trying to cope with the fact that not only is their country a target for terrorism, but a few of the terrorists who engineered and participated in the attacks, were born and raised in neighboring Belgium and France.

“The testimonies we are collecting from victims, it is a sense of retaliation against them because they are Muslims”

– Yasser Louati, CCIF

And now the French are asking a question Americans have been struggling with: how does a country balance civil-liberties with safety and security?

Producer Emma Jacobs reports from Paris on how the French are answering the question…and the answer lies at the intersection of  French values, French fears, and French laws.



Liberté & Securité was reported by Emma Jacobs and edited by Ibby Caputo, with sound design and production by Jonathan Hirsch. Alyssa Bernstein, Kirsten Jusewicz-Haidle, and Nancy Mullane provided production support. We would like to thank scholar, Liora Israel, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris for her production assistance.

The music in this episode is from Blue Dot Sessions.

Full Transcript of Liberté & Securité




This episode of Life of the Law was funded in part by grants from the Open Society Foundations, the Law and Society Association, the Proteus Fund, the  Ford Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.

Our reporting was sponsored by Squarespace (be sure to use the promo code LAW at checkout to receive special benefits as a Life of the Law listener), and by  The Great Courses Plus.com/law.

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