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Anti-terrorism bill stalled in Kenya parliament

[JURIST] A committee of the Kenyan National Assembly [official website] has shelved the latest version of a long-pending anti-terrorism bill [JURIST report], saying it will not be debated until the United States accepts responsibility for attacks on American interests in Kenya [JURIST news archive]. MP Amina Abdala, who on Monday announced the position of the Committee on Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs, said the bill violates rights contained in the Kenyan Constitution [text, PDF]. Provisions in the bill require the government to share intelligence with foreign nations and allow it to label individuals and groups as terrorists. Abdala said the US should compensate Kenya for losses suffered in terrorist attacks - apparently a reference to the car bombings of the US Embassy in Nairobi in 1998 [US State Dept. backgrounder], which killed more than 200 people, and of an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa in 2002 [CNN report], which killed 15. Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for both attacks.

A version of the bill [text, PDF] was first proposed in 2003. Human rights groups, including the Kenyan Human Rights Commission [advocacy website] and Amnesty International [press release], have also criticized the bill [EAS report]. From Nairobi, the East African Standard has more. PANA has additional coverage.

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