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MDP concerned over proposed amendments to terrorism law

Shahudha Mohamed
15 September 2019, MVT 16:02
Members of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). Parliament members representing MDP have expressed concerns over the recent amendments proposed to the Prevention of Terrorism Act. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/ MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
15 September 2019, MVT 16:02

Member of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Ali Azim announced on Sunday that parliament members representing the majority in parliament requested for a meeting with the government over amendments proposed to the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Azim told local media Mihaaru that many party MPs were upset over the recent amendments as they infringe on basic human rights and individual freedom.

He added that MDP members were against narrowing the scope of these areas through a law, especially since the party has always advocated for basic rights.

According to Azim, their biggest concerns were the powers granted to Maldives Police Service by the amendments. Should the alterations be passed, Police would not require a court order to arrest those suspected of acts of terrorism or search and inspect residences.

Azim stated that MPs requested to sit down with the state to clarify the reasons behind these amendments.

"We have officially requested for a meeting with the government. We mostly want to speak to the Attorney General to clarify what is happening and why it is so important for these changes to be brought about", Azim said.

"We were notified that the meeting will take place soon", he assured.

The Prevention of Terrorism Act was used in former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's to press charges against political leaders and activists, who saw severe legal repercussions when convicted.

However, Azim expressed that he did not believe the state's amendments were proposed to target political figures.

In addition to the powers granted to Police, the recent amendments criminalised the act of expressing support for terrorist groups and extremist organisations as well.

Moreover, the alterations will not allow bail for suspects arrested over terrorism, and will not offer lenient sentences or pardons for those convicted of certain terror acts.

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