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Controversial Terrorism bill comes into effect in England

Written by: Staff
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London, Apr 14 (UNI) New laws, which term the act of glorifying terrorism and distributing terrorist publications illegal, have come into force here.

The Terrorism Act, 2006, allows groups or organisations to be banned for these offences and covers anyone who gives or receives training. The act also designates nuclear sites as sensitive areas, trespassing into which can become a terrorist offence.

Human rights campaigners argue that the law, which faced stiff opposition in the House of Lords, is drawn far too widely. Peers are worried it would curb free speech and rejected the plans five times before voting them through in March. Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs voted against the Terrorism Bill, saying existing legislation already covered the glorification offence.

The bill was introduced after the July 7 bomb blasts in London.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said the new law would allow action to be taken against people glorifying these attacks. People had held placards praising the July 7 bombers during protests in London against caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad.

The act also creates new offences of undertaking terrorism training, preparation or planning of a terrorist act and disseminating terrorist publications. Plans to double the amount of time suspects can be held without charge will come into force later after consultation with police chiefs. The government wanted police to be allowed to hold suspects for up to 90 days, although MPs rejected this proposal.

UNI XC PR PC1610

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