French president seeks to extend state of emergency for three more months

President Francois Hollande announced on Friday that the French government will ask parliament to approve a three-month renewal of the state of emergency put into place after the Nov. 13 Paris attacks that killed 130 people.

It would be the second time the measure has been prolonged.

The president's office said Hollande cited "the terrorist threat" in asking the government to present a bill at the Feb. 3 Cabinet meeting seeking a three-month extension of the state of emergency. The current state of emergency is to expire Feb. 26.

A state of emergency gives special powers to authorities, making it easier to place people under house arrest and conduct searches.

Critics contend the measure impinges on personal freedoms to little effect.

In a first, the Council of State, France's highest administrative court, on Friday annulled one house arrest after the person in question, put under guard in December, filed suit.

The Interior Ministry had claimed the man, not identified by name, was linked to radical Islamists and was caught last May taking photographs of an apartment where a journalist from Charlie Hebdo —attacked last March in a newsroom massacre — was living under special protection. The man convinced the court his mother lives in the next building and was making a phone call — not taking photographs.

Nearly 400 people had been placed under house arrest through the state of emergency, according to an official breakdown in late December.