By Suzette Bloch
PARIS (AFP) — France’s new law punishing denial of the Armenian Genocide was put on hold Tuesday after politicians opposed to the legislation demanded that its constitutionality be examined.
Turkey reacted furiously last week when the Senate approved the law, which threatens with jail anyone in France who denies that the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turk forces amounted to genocide.
President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office brushed off angry threats of retaliation by Turkey and vowed to enforce the law within a fortnight.
But on Tuesday two separate groups of French politicians who oppose the legislation — from both the Senate and the lower house of parliament — said they had formally requested the constitutional council to examine the law.
The groups said they each had gathered more than the minimum 60 signatures required to ask the council to test the law’s constitutionality.