A muslim engineer, who has been denied access to French nuclear power stations, is to learn at the end of this month whether the decision to bar him will be overturned, his lawyer announced today.
The 29 year old man has been employed since 2012 by a subcontractor for the French company EDF.
But the management of a nuclear plant in Nogent sur Seine in eastern France refused permission for him to work on their premises, after he failed a vetting process for reasons which they say they cannot reveal.
"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,” said Sefen Guez, lawyer for the CCIF, an anti-islamophobia group.
Guez says his client obtained access to nuclear sites in 2012 and 2013 but in March 2014, for the first time, he was refused permission to access the power station at Nogent sur Seine, after an investigation conducted by the regional police headquarters in Aube.
Then in June that decision was overturned by a court in nearby Châlons-en-Champagne.
That judge declared that he had "serious doubts about the legality of the decision” noting that "neither the regional police chief, nor the EDF has clarified the characteristics justifying the access ban.”
The engineer was then allowed to access sites again, until he was stopped again by the Nogent sur Seine nuclear power station management, who cited the police chief’s ruling.
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.”
Lawyer Sefen Guez said he accepted that the police were not obliged to make their report public but said his client and the judge should at least be made aware of the reasons for the ban.