Lawyers for an engineer, who has been banned access to nuclear sites in France, have called the decision ‘pure Islamophobia.’ But authorities claimed it was for security reasons.
The 29 year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was employed by a firm subcontracted by the energy company EDF. He worked as a project manager and as part of the role he was allowed access nuclear installations from 2012 to 2013. However, in March 2014 he was refused permission to work at Nogent-sur-Seine nuclear power station in Eastern France. Authorities said he had failed a vetting process and was not allowed entry.
Officials alleged he had links with a terror group and that he was in contact with an imam involved in recruiting people to fight in Iraq. These claims were rejected by the suspect, and his lawyer Sefen Guez said, “There is no proof of these supposed links.” Later in June the ban was overturned by an appeals court. Yet back to work a month later and the man was refused access again.
The court in the North-eastern town of Chalons-en-Champagne had revealed that the management could prevent those “undergoing a process of political and religious radicalisation” from accessing sensitive sites.
Sefen Guez said: “This country respects the rule of law and my client, a qualified man with no criminal record who practises his religion in a normal way, like many other French Muslims, would quite naturally like to know the reasons for this ban.”
He added that “considering the current atmosphere in France, his religious leanings cannot be ruled out” as a reason behind the ban. But officials from the police chief’s office said: “It goes without saying that the ban was not based on criteria such as religion or race. Our judgement is based on security issues.”
The court in the North-eastern town of Chalons-en-Champagne upheld the ban saying the management could prevent those “undergoing a process of political and religious radicalisation” from accessing sensitive sites.
The man now awaits the outcome as the second appeal case is pending a decision at the end of the month.