Bangladesh discusses new anti-terrorism law
The proposed law is designed to cover all aspects of terrorism and militancy provides for capital punishment if the charge is proved.Updated: May 18, 2006 13:58 IST
Bangladesh's proposed anti-terror law may provide for a month's preventive detention of a suspected militant but "will not be used against anyone with political motivation", says the country's Law Minister Moudud Ahmed.
For detention of a longer period, the accused will have to be produced before and get approval of an advisory board as per constitutional provisions, the Daily Star quoted Ahmed as saying about the law that falls back on a similar legislation enacted during the era of founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The preventive detention provisions being considered now are in the style of the Special Powers Act enacted soon after Bangladesh's independence, when the government was battling left extremists and members of Islamist militant organisations that were banned for collaborating with the military authorities in the erstwhile East Pakistan.
The law's working came to be criticised for muzzling political dissidents.
"This law will not be used against anyone with political motivation," Ahmed assured reporters after a meeting of an inter-ministerial body formed to examine the draft Anti-Terrorism Act at his ministry.
"We are looking into it carefully to ensure stopping of its political use," he said.
The proposed law is designed to cover all aspects of terrorism and militancy provides for capital punishment if the charge is proved, he said, adding that it would be "very strict" about bail. "The court has to be absolutely satisfied before granting one bail," Moudud said.
"It has become very urgent to introduce a new law as terrorism and militancy have acquired a new dimension. New terms are coming in use and the militants are using substances that the existing laws are inadequate to cover," the law minister said.
Justifying the proposed law, Ahmed told BBC Bengali Service that countries like Britain and the US have laws for detention of militants and terrorists without trial.
First Published: May 18, 2006 12:57 IST