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three people attempting to leave Syria arrested for belonging to a terrorist group

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The General Directorate of General Security on Wednesday announced the arrest of three people who were tasked by a Syria-based terrorist group to scout possible targets for “bomb and vehicle-ramming attacks” in Lebanon. In a statement, General Security said “Lebanese national M. Kh., his Lebanese wife H. H. and Palestinian refugee M. M. were arrested for belonging to a terrorist group, communicating with senior officials in it, and attempting to leave for Syria to join its ranks”. “During interrogation, they confessed to the charges, admitting that they belong to a terrorist group and that Palestinian refugee M. M. had recruited the aforementioned couple on behalf of the group” the statement added. The Lebanese couple “traveled to Turkey with the aim of entering Syria to join the wife’s relatives who fight alongside the terrorist group, but their attempt failed after they were arrested by Turkish authorities and sent back to Lebanon”. After arriving in Lebanon, Lebanese national M. Kh. communicated with his Syria-based brother-in-law A. H. who linked him to one of the group’s security handlers, General Security added. The handler tasked him with “collecting information and identifying figures or gatherings for possible bomb attacks, suicide operations or vehicle-ramming attacks that can be labeled as ‘quick forays’” the statement said.

Indonesia considering new anti-terrorism legislation. Fears of repercussions on the human-rights

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 After the attacks that hit Jakarta last week, concluded with the death of four civilians and four attackers, Indonesian President Joko Widodo asked yesterday the review of anti-terrorism laws in force in the archipelago.

The proposed amendment would clearly go in the direction of a tightening of security controls, and allows security forces to immediately arrest any person suspected of planning terrorist attacks. The police fear that Indonesian jihadists engaged in Middle – East and North Africa may return home to prepare new attacks.

The proposal has generated concerns because many feel that a new more restrictive anti-terrorism law could lead to an excessive increase of the controls and be used as a tool of repression in a country that has already suffered from the weakness of its rule of law.

The new legislation would also allow the police to detain suspects for more than a week (current limit), without charge, and would make illegal any military activity with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. According to local authorities estimates, some 500 Indonesians have already left to fight as foreign fighters alongside jihadists of Daesh. 100 of these have already returned without having gained ,however, in most cases, combat experience.

The reform advocated by President Widodo should be approved quickly enough, given the cross support expressed by the majority of political forces represented in Parliament. Only some opposition parties have expressed their fears for a change that could result in suppression of dissent and freedom of expression. Along the same lines were, concerns were expressed by human rights organizations and radical Islamic groups.

It is feared that, in the wake of the attacks, the country can take a step back on the path of democracy, giving the police powers similar to those exercised during the 32 years of bloody dictatorship of General Suharto, when hundreds of thousands of dissidents accused of communism were persecuted and brutally murdered by militia supported by the regime.

Egypt, anti-terrorism laws: new “Arab Winter”?

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Death penalty for those who take part in the Jihadist groups. Journalists mustn’t contradict official accounts. Al Sisi mandate marks return to nationalism and repression against opponents. But this policy is counterproductive: attacks in the country has exponentially increased since 2013.

Yes to anti-terrorism legislation. The hard line of the Egyptian president to Sisi has gone on. Within the 54 measures passed, the most crucial are death penalty for those who founds or finances a terrorist group. And fines from 23,000 to 58,000 Euros to journalists who write wrong informations or different knowledge from government statements.

If Egypt wants to be back first partner in the political and trade relations with International Community, like about Suez Canal expansion, on the other hand al Sisi wants to show internal stability and capability to fight internal Jihadists group. This mood is bringing a hard repression not only against Islamists, but also against also political opponents and Egyptian press.

A crackdown began in June 2014, when current president al Sisi started his political mandate, and continued with Arab Springs protagonist repression. Many political opponents, not considered terrorists during Mubarak regime, are now considered criminals. As the death sentence to former President Morsi, to supreme leader Badie and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, of which the legal office filed an appeal on August 16.

This attempt to stabilize the country, with an eye to the West in view of a possible intervention of the United Nations and Italy in Libya, brings a regression in terms of fundamental rights. An attitude branded by some observers as illiberal and even more militaristic than the Mubarak regime. This political behaviour wants to give West the eye, especially if United Nations and Italy will intervene in Libya. However, many international observers have talked about a harder repression than during Mubarak regime.

But it’s not enough. This fight against terrorism is counterproductive. As reported by the Brookings Institution, data published in August by Egypt Center for Economic and Social Rights tell us that the terrorist attacks in Egypt have increased exponentially: from 2011 to June 2013 were 78; from July 2013 until May 2014, 1223 . And with tens of thousands of arrests for political reasons, at least 300 disappeared, murders of institutional positions and deterioration in Sinai, the issue is clear.

An ineffective and counterproductive policy which, as underlined by the Brookings Institute, could be a gift, from political and public points of view, Islamic State.
Giacomo Pratali


Giacomo Pratali
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