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UN rights official urges Jordan to revise controversial anti-terror law

[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counterterrorism Martin Scheinin [official profile] has urged Jordan [JURIST news archive] to amend an anti-terrorism law approved [JURIST report] last month by the country's National Assembly [official website]. Scheinin noted in a statement Friday that human rights advocates and opposition party leaders continue to criticize [JURIST report] the measure [JURIST news archive] and flagged several issues with the new law:

One of the primary concerns is the overly broad definition of terrorism since it is vague regarding the elements of intent and aim and can be seen to be at variance with the principle of legality. There are also a number of procedural safeguards that appear to have been compromised which can negatively impact on the right to a fair trial and due process. For example, the law currently allows suspects to be detained for up to 30 days without access to a lawyer and without judicial review. Further, the law gives considerable powers to law enforcement, security forces and the Public Prosecutor with regard to detention, search and arrest that effectively negate the right to privacy, freedom and movement and the presumption of innocence. Finally, the law designates military courts as having sole jurisdiction of terrorism cases which may lack judicial independence and deny a number of procedural guarantees.
Scheinin reminded Jordan that its membership of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) [text] obligates the country to ensure the law's compliance with several articles of that covenant before it is ratified. Read the UN press release.

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