Supporting terrorist group to be a crime, can be arrested without warrant

An article has been added in the amendment to the Anti-Terrorism act to make it illegal to support a terrorist organisation and authorize law enforcement agencies to arrest and searched such people without a court order.

With more crimes classified as acts of terrorism, the amendment bill was presented to the parliament on behalf of the government by the MP for South Henveiru constituency, Hussain Shaheem.

Newly classified crimes in the terrorism category include endangering a person's health and safety, damaging public property, intentional disruption of basic services along with production and trade of firearms and explosives.

Other crimes included in the criteria include intentionally causing major injuries to a person, major damage to property, endangering others, kidnapping and hijacking.

Currently, anyone taken into the custody of the Maldives Police Service has to be brought before a judge within 24 hours of their arrest. However, the new amendment allows 48 hours in detention.

The bill allows police to enter private property without a warrant to make arrests of people suspected of terrorism. Police are also allowed to strip-search suspects if they have cause to believe something is concealed on the body.

Crimes classified as those of terrorism has been broaden to include supporting terrorism, going to foreign conflicts and assisting others in any shape or form to get to such a conflict zone.

New classification also expands on public expression of support for acts and organizations involved in terrorist activities along with public display of support in the form of a writing, image or clothing.

Currently, authorities have to complete investigations with 30 days of the remand hearing of suspects and send the case for prosecution or a charge cannot be pressed forward. But the new amendment will increase the number of days to 45 and gives the Prosecutor General 15 days before sending the case to court.