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Bangladesh enacts tough anti-terrorism law


Dhaka : A vast array of crimes, including money laundering, arms running and financing terror attacks, have been made non-bailable offences – liable to death penalty and life imprisonment – under a new anti-terrorism law in Bangladesh.

Promulgated by Bangladesh President Iajuddin Ahmed, the Anti-Terrorism Ordinance 2008 became effective Wednesday through a gazette notification, The Daily Star reported Friday.

The ordinance empowers Bangladesh Bank to freeze the accounts of a suspected terror fiancier and give directions to banks concerned to take preventive measures against monetary transactions for financing terrorist acts.

The provision of death penalty has been provided for terror financing and staging murder to create panic and jeopardise the country’s sovereignty. Special tribunals will be constituted to deal with such offences, the United News of Bangladesh (UNB) news agency reported.

Anyone resorting to murder, kidnapping or damaging property to create panic among the people and jeopardise the country’s security by using explosives, arms and chemicals, will be charged with committing terrorist offence.

The time-frame for resolving a terrorism case has been fixed at six months after the framing of charges. The ordinance provides the maximum punishment of seven years of imprisonment with fines for a member or supporter of an outlawed organisation.

In the past few years, Bangladesh has proscribed Jamaat ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Harkat ul Jehad Islami (HUJI), and other Islamist militant bodies.

A report by the non-government Bangladesh Enterprises International (BEI), released Wednesday, said these organisations have been consolidating their network and regrouping their cadres.

While the number of terror attacks and violence has come down, thanks partly to the campaign by the army, police and the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), this has not prevented underground activity, training and distribution of propaganda material in the villages.

The proscribed militant bodies were waiting for an opportune time to carry out attacks, the BEI report has said.