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Muslim bodies okey anti-terror Bill

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 24 – The Association of Muslim Organisations in Kenya now says it fully supports the Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2012 which is due to be tabled in Parliament in the coming weeks.

Chairman Sheikh Athman Mponda said the Bill fully recognises the rights of the Muslims and should not be seen as discriminatory.

“We fully support the Bill, we have gone through it and it has catered for all the interests. It is not discriminatory to the Muslim community,” Mponda told a press conference in Nairobi.

Mponda said the Muslim community does not, in any way, support terrorists and their activities, and he is terming those opposed to the Bill as people out to serve selfish interests.

“This Bill is going to help the government fight terrorism within the law. Other than a few clauses which need to be amended, the entire Bill is ok,” he said.

Mponda said the proposed law comes at the right time because of increased terror activities in the country and will help tame young men being recruited into terrorism.

“We have heard of many young men traveling to Somalia to go fight what they are terming as the Jihad war, why should they travel to Somalia, why should they engage in a war and claim they are joining a religious war?” Mponda posed, and denied the war in Somalia has anything to do with the Muslim faith.

He said the war in the lawless country which has remained without a government for two decades is not religious and only aimed at killing innocent people.

“There is nowhere in the Quran where it is stated that someone should kill another person, the Quran is very clear and does not even allow anyone to kill him or herself, so why should people engage in suicide bombing?” he posed and warned young men to stop engaging in the war.

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“Terrorism is a crime,” he said.

The Bill which was introduced in Parliament for the first time in 2003 was later withdrawn after stakeholders, including a section of muslims criticized it.

The government plans to re-introduce it after several amendments were made on it.

Among others, the Bill outlines the kind of punishment to be meted on people found supporting or associating themselves with terrorists and their activities.

It outlines actions the law enforcement agencies should take on a person or persons suspected to be terrorists or any such group, including the way they should be arrested, detained and eventually arraigned in court.

The Bill largely borrows from human rights concepts on how suspects should be handled or treated once in custody, but calls for stiffer penalties on perpetrators.

Under the new Bill, terrorist suspects will not be mistreated or humiliated by the police, or kept in cells past the required 24-hour period, unless it is otherwise declared by a court of law.

Unlike, the current provisions of the penal code, the new Bill states that courts may receive in evidence anything including information obtained from the government or institution or agency of a foreign state or from an international organisation that in the opinion of the court is reliable and relevant.

It states that any person or persons who commits an act of terrorism shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a period of not less than seven years and shall on conviction more than twenty years.

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Those who commit terrorist acts that causes death of a person shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for life.

A person or persons who provides or collects, by any means directly or indirectly any funds intending, knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe that the funds may be used in full or in part to carry out a terrorist act shall be liable for an imprisonment term not less than seven years and more than 14 years upon conviction.


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