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Turkish president signs controversial anti-terror bill subject to court review

[JURIST] Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer [official website; BBC profile] has signed the controversial anti-terrorism bill which the country's parliament [official website] passed [JURIST report] on June 29, but says he will allow the country's constitutional court [official website] to delete several clauses without specifying which would be stricken. The law has been criticized by media and human rights groups which claim legislators approved the measure in order to increase the country's likelihood for a successful membership bid [JURIST report] to the European Union [official website]. The bill allows for one to three-year prison sentences for individuals who publish statements given by terrorist organizations, which press groups claim diminishes the eased restrictions on media outlets provided by the government over the past few years.

The new law also establishes prison sentences for spreading terrorist propaganda and allows judges to give 30-day suspensions to publications that praise terrorist acts. The bill was proposed [JURIST report] after a surge in violent acts committed by the Kurdistan Workers' Party [FAS backgrounder], which is deemed to be a terrorist group by Turkey, the US, and the European Union. AFP has more.

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