Tunisia’s new anti-terror law evokes mixed reactions

Tunisia

The new anti-terror law in Tunisia, after a series of recent terror attacks, has evoked mixed reactions. The bill has been criticised by human rights     groups and has been labeled draconian. The president of the Assembly in Tunisia, Mohammed Ennaceur, welcomed the passing of the “law against terrorism and money laundering,” calling it a historic moment. Mr. Ennaceur added that this would be welcomed by the citizens.

The law was passed after three intense debating by the 174 members of the parliament, with 10 members abstaining and none voting against the legislation. The law received support from the secular as well as the Islamist parties. On the other hand, activists are critical, saying the law poses a real threat to rights   and liberties in Tunisia while some others said terrorism can’t be fought with regressive reforms.

There were other issues raised such as the definition of terrorist crimes being vague, stifling popular movements, power of the authorities to detain suspects without giving them access to lawyers, capital punishment being brought back.  The reactions from civil society were in  stark contrast to the lawmakers. There was a need to unite the country to fight terror and overcome this crisis, said President Beji Caid Essebsi. 

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