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Proposed Saudi counter terrorism law that 'jails for criticizing king' sparks outrage

Washington , Sat, 23 Jul 2011 ANI

Washington, July 23 (ANI): Human rights activists have said that a counter-terrorism law proposed by the Saudi Arabian government, that mandates jail sentences for criticizing the king, would effectively quash political dissent.


The proposed law would give the Interior Ministry broad powers and mandate jail terms for speaking against the king.


Additionally, the law would allow prisoners to be held with no bail and trials and appeals would be handled secretly, both Saudi and international rights advocates have said.


The new law gives Interior Ministry the ability to tap telephones or search houses without permission from the judiciary, the New York Times reports.


Saudi activists have long accused the judicial system and the Interior Ministry of a lack of respect for human rights, even when such rights exist legally.


The activists said that the new law would legalize those practices, removing all restraints.


Brig. Gen. Mansour Turki, Interior Ministry spokesman, declined to comment on the proposed law, the report said.


Critics said the law's definitions of terrorist crimes are vague enough to encompass all manner of activity.


According to a translation provided by Amnesty International, it uses broad terms like "harming the reputation of the state."


It mandates a 10-year prison term for calling the king or a crown prince an infidel.


Some activists view the law as an attempt by Prince Nayef, the longtime interior minister, to consolidate his power and that of his son, Prince Mohammed, who runs counterterrorism operations. (ANI)


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