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Genocide Bill Meets Resistance In French Senate

French lawmaker Valerie Boyer, who authored the controversial genocide-denial bill, answers journalists' questions in Marseilles in December.
A French Senate panel has rejected a bill that would make it a crime to deny that the mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman-era Turkey or other events acknowledged by the French state to be "genocide" amounted to such.

The Commission of Laws, which reviews texts before they are debated, on January 18 said the bill was unconstitutional, as it violates freedom of speech.

The commission's recommendation is nonbinding.

The bill is expected to go before the full Senate for a vote on January 23, and correspondents say it appears to have broad support.

The lower house of parliament has already adopted the bill, which punishes offenders by up to a year in prison and 45,000 euros ($57,000) in fines.

The bill sparked a diplomatic row with Turkey which denies the late-World War I killings were genocide.

compiled from agency reports