New Zealand politicians on Thursday passed a law that makes plotting a terrorist attack a crime, fixing a legal loophole that was uncovered by a violent knife attack earlier this month.
The new law had taken months to plan, but was hurried through parliament after an extremist inspired by the Islamic State group grabbed a knife and stabbed shoppers in an Auckland supermarket on 3 September. In the commotion, five were injured while two others were injured. All have been fine.
Police officers shot and killed the extremist, Ahmed Athil Samsudin, after they said they confronted him in the supermarket and he attacked them with a knife. Officers had been following him for 53 days, concerned that he had planned to attack any time after he was released from prison in July. However, the police could not find any legal reason to take him into custody.
A year earlier, prosecutors unsuccessfully tried to accuse Samsoodin of terrorism after he was found to have bought a large hunting knife and accompanied a violent Islamic State video.
Prosecutors argued that there was evidence that he had purchased the knife with the intention of killing people and furthering an ideological cause. But a judge ruled that the act of buying the knife was not enough to move the case forward.
The judge found that New Zealand’s anti-terrorism laws did not specifically cover the plots. At the time the judge acknowledged that “it may have been an Achilles’ heel,” adding that it was not up to a court to make new laws.
Following the attack this month, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed to pass the new law by the end of September. But Ardern also said that even if the new law had been enacted, it would not necessarily have stopped Samsuddin.
“This bill strengthens our counter-terrorism laws to better prevent and respond,” said Liberal Labor Party MP Ginny Anderson. This is good thing.”
New Zealand’s terrorism laws date back to shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks were recommended in the US following the 2019 attack, in which a white supremacist gunman killed 51 Muslim worshipers at two mosques in Christchurch during Friday prayers. had done.
The Conservative National Party joined Labor in voting in favor of the bill, which was reduced to 22 by 98 votes. But some of Ardern’s traditional liberal allies in parliament voted against it.
The Green Party stated that their members were concerned that the new law was brought in without adequate consultation, and that the definition of terrorism had been expanded to the extent that it risked capturing “direct action, activism and protest”. was raised.
The Greens said they were also concerned that some experts had characterized the new crime as a “thought crime” and that powers allowing officers to conduct warrantless searches increased the risk of human rights abuses. .
The new offense of planning a terrorist attack comes with a maximum prison term of seven years. The bill also criminalises weapons or combat training for carrying out an attack or traveling to or from New Zealand and for a terroristic attack.
Ardern is also investigating whether New Zealand’s deportation laws and policies need to be changed after authorities ordered the revocation of Samsuddin’s refugee status and deportation to Sri Lanka in 2019 on the grounds of fraud. An appeal from Samsudin was still pending when he launched his attack.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /