Police gain unnecessary power with amendments in the Prevention of Terrorism bill

December 7, 2016
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It’s as if the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002 was not strict enough, that now, the Prime Minister, Sir Anerood Jugnauth favours additional powers be given to police.

The most worrying part is the amendment to Section 6 of the Act with the addition of sub-section 3 as follows:

(3) A police officer may, without warrant, arrest a person who, in a public place –
(a) wears an item of clothing; or
(b) carries or displays an object, in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion that he belongs to a proscribed organisation.

The above, in my opinion, gives unnecessary power to police, at a time when police are yet to prove their competence in the field of counter-terrorism. Every time police have used the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PoTA) they have made gaffes that left the department in shame.

In January 2016 I was detained by police under PoTA for over a week. My rights were baffled and till date all my computer devices are still in their custody, even after the Director of Public Prosecutions said there is no case to answer in court.

The amendment as written above will allow a police officer to arrest a person on mere suspicion based on the color of his clothes or writings on his shirt. Alarming as it sounds, a person displaying anti-government writings on a t-shirt could be targeted as a terrorist by police.

The Prevention of Terrorism Amendment Bill can be downloaded from the National Assembly website.

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