Australia passes new counter terror law

Allows convicted extremists' sentences to be expanded by 12 months before they expire

Australia passes new counter terror law

World Bulletin / News Desk

Australia passed new counter-extremism measures Thursday that allow convicted extremists to be kept in jail once their sentences expire if they continue to be deemed a risk.

The bill followed a call by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this year for laws to be strengthened following high-profile extremist attacks worldwide.

"In the wake of Orlando, Nice and other extremist incidents as well as our own experience of 16 counter-extremism operations since September 2014, resulting in the charging of 44 persons, we cannot afford for a moment to be complacent," Malcolm Turnbull told a press conference July 27.

The legislation allows Attorney-General George Brandis to apply for an extension of a sentence 12 months before it expires, rather than six months as originally proposed.

On Thursday, the Australian ABC network BC reported Brandis as telling parliament that risks posed by individual prisoners would need to be evaluated on admissible evidence, rather than legal definitions.

"It could be always asserted that there is a reasonable doubt as to whether a prisoner convicted of a serious extremism offence would be pose an unacceptable level of risk," he said.

"The criminal standard of proof is in fact a very rigid standard and it is just not apt to apply to a decision that involves a degree of evaluation of this kind."

Australia has been engaged in efforts to increase its anti-extrem measures in recent years.

Among other new legislation, it has banned citizens from traveling to Mosul in northern Iraq and Syria’s Raqqa province -- unless they have a "legitimate purpose" for being there -- and also passed legislation to strip dual nationals of citizenship if they are convicted or suspected of extremism offenses.

Civil liberties groups have expressed concern about changes to the laws.

Last Mod: 01 Aralık 2016, 12:27
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