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Bangladesh okays tough anti-terrorism law
May 19, 2008 14:01 IST
The Bangladesh's government has approved a tough anti-terrorism ordinance, which has a provision for death sentence as the maximum penalty for those convicted of terrorism, officials said on Monday.
A weekly meeting of the council with Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed in the chair gave the final approval to the Anti-Terrorism Ordinance 2008 suggesting that any act that poses a threat to the sovereignty, unity, integrity or security of Bangladesh or creates panic among the general masses or obstructs official activities would be treated as terrorism.
According to the ordinance, use of bombs, dynamite or other explosives, inflammable substances, firearms, or any other chemicals in a way that may injure or kill people to create panic among the public, and damage public or private property have been defined as acts of terrorism.
Threatening anyone with death, taking any person hostage, physically assaulting anyone or creating panic in the general masses, detaining or abducting a person by such acts have also been defined as terrorism.
"If any person commits terrorist activity, he or she will be awarded death sentence or life imprisonment or maximum 20 years and minimum 3 years rigorous imprisonment, says the latest anti-terrorism law," an official said quoting the law which was expected to be promulgated soon.
The interim administration, installed with crucial military support on January 12, 2007, decided to enact the law in line with the international anti-terrorism conventions that Bangladesh has signed.
The ordinance suggested speedy trial in special courts with maximum punishment of death or life term or 20 years and minimum three years' imprisonment for the offenders in addition to financial penalty, an official said after Sunday's cabinet meeting.
The law stipulates that those who finance terrorist groups, whether they are composed of local or foreign elements, will also be tried under the law.
For terror financing, a convict will serve maximum 20 years of rigorous imprisonment and minimum three years with financial penalty.
The law empowers the authorities to ban any extremist group. Offences like publicity or broadcast in favour of any outlawed organisation carry a maximum sentence of seven years and minimum two years.
For sheltering a terrorist, one may be jailed for maximum five years if the prime offender is given death sentence.