- The Prime Minister of Mauritius, Navin Ramgoolam, announces his government will present a new anti-terrorism bill, adding to the controversial 2002 legislation that led to a political crisis.
According to a press release from the PM's office, government will "tomorrow present to the National Assembly the Prevention of Terrorism (International Obligations) Bill, which will allow Mauritius to adhere to international counter-terrorism instruments to which it is not yet a party."
The main objectives of the counter-terrorism conventions and protocols are "to prevent, punish and condemn all acts, methods and practices of international terrorism." To be a party to the convention, states are obliged to establish as criminal offences under their domestic law the offences set forth in the counter-terrorism instruments and make the offences punishable by appropriate penalties; and establish their jurisdiction over the offences described in the conventions.
The Counter-Terrorism Conventions and Protocols provide for taking alleged offenders into custody and prosecuting or extraditing them where applicable. They also set the ground for states to cooperate in preventive measures and exchange information and evidence needed in criminal proceedings.
According to the Prime Minister's Office, the new Mauritian legislation "will initially cover three Conventions, relating respectively to the physical protection of nuclear material, the making of plastic explosives for the purpose of detection and the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism."
The Prevention of Terrorism Bill was presented as an "expression of the commitment of Mauritius to combat terrorism in all its forms." The new bill comes in addition to the existing legal framework against terrorism, which was established in March 2002 through the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
The 2002 legislation however was highly controversial, causing a political crisis in the island state. The Mauritian opposition said the law eroded the rights of suspects by allowing the police to hold them for longer periods without charging them.
Thus president of Mauritius, Cassam Uteem, resigned in protest against the Prevention of Terrorism Act, after having blocked the bill for months by refusing to sign it into law.
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