New bill grants president authority to declare groups ‘terrorist organisations’

The Attorney General’s (AG) office has drafted a new anti-terrorism bill that would grant exclusive authority to the president to declare groups as terrorist organisations.

The 39-page draft defines terrorist organisations as a group of people acting as a whole, which carries out or has the purpose of destroying properties or carrying out acts of brutality.

The draft legislation proposes restricting constitutional rights upon arrest for terrorism suspects – including the right to remain silent and access to legal counsel – and criminalises flying overseas to fight in foreign wars.

Inciting violence at demonstrations and threatening the country’s independence and sovereignty will be considered acts of terrorism.

Other terrorism offences include kidnapping, abduction, hijacking, endangering public health or safety, and damaging important infrastructure. The bill specifies penalties of up to 25 years in jail.

Committing any of the offences for the purpose of creating terror among the public or promoting a political or religious ideology will also be a terrorist offence.

The bill also authorises the home ministry to carry out extensive surveillance of suspects.

Encouraging terrorism, an act which carries a 10 to 15 years jail sentence, is defined as “a speech or statement perceived by the public as encouragement of terrorism.”

Circulating messages or statements of a terrorist organisation is also a crime with a jail sentence of seven to 10 years.

A draft of the bill has been shared with the Maldives Police Service and the prosecutor general’s (PG) office.

Attorney general Mohamed Anil told CNM today that his office is seeking comments from stakeholders and that the bill will be submitted when parliament returns from recess next month.

The bill is likely to pass as the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives and coalition partner Maldives Development Alliance controls a simple majority of the 85-member house.

The PG office will have to file charges against a person suspected of terrorism within 15 days and the courts will have to reach a verdict within 30 days.

The home minister will meanwhile have powers to apply for a ‘monicon’ (monitoring and control) order to tag, intercept communications and conduct surveillance on terrorism suspects.

The minister can seek a monicon order if the suspect commits an act that endangers the community.

The minister does not have to inform the suspect and the court is not obliged to summon the suspect before issuing the order.

If a monicon order has been issued the police can order the person to live at a selected house if the suspect has multiple residences, restrict travelling and search the person, his home, suspected whereabouts on any time without an additional court order.

If the law is passed, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1990 will be dissolved.

Former president Mohamed Nasheed and ex-minister Tholhath Ibrahim were charged under the terrorism law over the military’s detention of a judge in January 2012. The pair were found guilty and sentenced to 13 years and 10 years in prison, respectively, last month.


9 thoughts on “New bill grants president authority to declare groups ‘terrorist organisations’”

  1. and then declare the opposition party MDP as a terrorist organization, right?

    1.'s a loooong awaited dream of the coup-sters to declare mdp as a terrorist outfit. well, in short all opposition will shortly be charged under this.

  2. The whole things beggars belief. Suggest everyone at the top checks themselves into jail since they qualify absolutely .. may they be comfortable there for around 25 years - the time it would take to start undoing the damage they have done so far...And they call this a democracy still? What a cheek - can't believe they can get away with it. Or for how long.

  3. You can't see a better example than this of the two-faced regime that we have. Whilst the Foreign Minister begs the international community not to criticise the Maldives and offer help, the Attorney General is drafting legislation that will put Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussian, Idi Amin or Gaddafi to shame!

    Yes, indeed, when this bills come into force (as it surely will), anyone who dare speak against the regime will be serving time as a terrorist. There can't be a tighter net than this to stifle ALL opposition!

  4. I look forward to them declaring MDP as a terrorist organization. At long last, 7 years of planning will succeed.

  5. Welcome to the land of the DICTATOR / Maldives I feel sorry for you.....

  6. Now this is a bit like passing the select power of Judiciary to executive, not that the judiciary functions as a unbiased independent branch of the gov in Maldives in practice. Now writing it down in law tsk tsk.

    Eventual end structure of the Raamaa makunu politics

  7. Am beginning to get the feeling that due to the amount of pressure being applied on the President, he is about to sell the judiciary down the drain. Else why the need to transfer an important aspect of the court's power to the executive? That 'underwear' guy better go into thinking mode - and fast.


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