The second amendment to the Anti-Terrorism Act has been ratified.
While it was passed by the People’s Majlis in September during at an extraordinary sitting on September 30, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ratified the amendment on Thursday.
It was passed with 52 votes in favor, despite several MPs having expressed concern over some of the proposed amendments.
The amendment has been publicized in the government gazette upon ratification.
The new amendment accentuates political and religious extremism as well as radicalization as acts of terrorism. Any form of support towards promoting extremism and radicalization and even participation in such acts are included under the amendment, as acts of terrorism.
It further proposes to include essential elements to assists the authorities under special circumstances to prevent such acts.
In addition, it contributes to the prevention of terrorism by incorporating early intervention strategies.
Proposed to fast-track the work of the presidential inquiry commission on deaths and disappearances, the amendment bill was deemed necessary by the president in the authorities work on investigation of the kidnapping and consecutive murder of Minivan News Journalist Ahmed Rilwan.
It poses utmost importance since the laws need to better define what terrorism is and make it easier for authorities to arrest terrorist suspects.
The amendments proposed by South-Henveiru constituency MP Hussain Shameem, on behalf of the government, allows police “to arrest terror suspects without a warrant, conduct invasive body searches, deny private consultations with legal counsel and detain suspects for 48 hours before taking them before a judge.”
The bill also criminalizes supporting extremist ideologies, including political and religious extremism, and spreading fear within society, as well as any attempts to go to any war zones without authorization.
The amendments also specify hefty prison sentences for anyone convicted of terrorism.