Assembly Committee Rushing Through Anti-Terrorism Law

The People’s Representatives’ Assembly’s General Legislation Committee has stayed up till early hours of the morning in recent days in an effort to speed up adoption of the new Anti-Terrorism Law. The draft law had been stuck in the Assembly for some months due to disagreements. The recent horrific attack in Sousse prompted the Assembly to try to overcome differences and get the text adopted at the earliest date possible.

Deputies managed to reach agreement on some controversial points last night, including making it a criminal offence for any individual to fail to inform authorities that a terrorist attack is being planned if they have such information. Deputies disagreed over article 35 of the draft law, with some arguing that an exception should be made from punishment for parents, children and spouses in case of failing to inform authorities. The committee finally reached agreement on making no exceptions to the offence, making it punishable by one to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 5,000 to 10,000 Tunisian dinars.

The anti-terrorism law has been criticised by human rights and civil society organisations for violating international human rights standards and introducing overly broad powers.

The law is expected to be adopted by 25 July.

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