Committee to discuss Anti-Terrorism Bill with institutions

Committee on National Security & Foreign Relations. (Photo/Parliament)

Committee on National Security & Foreign Relations will meet with senior officials from relevant institutions regarding the government proposed amendments that are to be brought to the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The Committee meeting scheduled for 20:00 tonight will be attended by officials from the Attorney General's Office, MNDF, National Counter Terrorism Center, Maldives Police Service, and the Home Ministry. 

The recess period of the parliament was cut short due to the amendments to the Anti Terrorism Act and resulted in two unscheduled parliamentary sessions held to conduct work on these amendments.

The new amendments would allow police to detain and search people without a warrant and also detain people for 48 hours without a court warrant among other additional powers. Some MPs called for this provision to be dismissed altogether during the first reading of the bill in parliament.

Some of the fundamental rights of the detainees can also be withheld under these amendments.

Some MPs had also stated that it should be a rank higher than the rank of Sub-Inspector of Police who should be able to issue arrest orders without a court warrant due to fears of power abuse.

Some of the crimes set out in the bill

  • Traveling for war, staying or remaining in an area or location of war as well as any act of war or assisting in carrying out such an act of war.
  • Creating, selling or purchasing or using weapons of war or explosives or other objects which can destroy or kill in a war.
  • Supporting a terrorist organization or calling to support such organizations.
  • Expressing or encouraging actions of support for terrorist organizations. Taking part in such actions of support for terrorist organizations or planning or carrying out such actions of support for terrorist organizations.
  • Wearing attire that represents or supports a terrorist organization in a public place. Carrying a photo, document or drawing depicting the representation or support of a terrorist organization in a public place.

The Criminal Procedure Code of Maldives currently states that the accused should be charged within 30 days of being presented in front of a judge. However, the amendments to the Anti Terrorism Act states that investigations should be completed within 45 days and should be sent to the Prosecutor General's Office. The PG then has 15 days to officially raise charges against the accused.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has recently stated that the amendments were in relation to some of the things noticed in the investigation into the murder of journalist Ahmed Rilwan.