PARIS (AFP)—A French Senate committee on Wednesday rejected a bill to outlaw denial of the Armenian genocide, but the move was unlikely to stop the bill passing at a final vote on Monday.
The French lower house approved the law last month, threatening anyone who denies that the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turk forces amounted to genocide with jail, drawing a threat of sanctions from Turkey.
Ankara froze political and military ties with France when the bill was passed by the National Assembly, and has threatened further measures if it continues through the Senate or is approved by President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The Senate’s Laws Commission approved a motion on Wednesday rejecting the bill as inadmissible by 23 votes for, nine against and eight abstentions.
A plenary Senate session on Monday will now vote on the committee’s motion, but most senators opposed to the bill are expected to abstain, allowing the Senate to take a final vote on the bill itself.
France recognized the Genocide in 2001, but the new bill would go further, by punishing anyone who denies this with a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros ($57,000).