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UN rights official urges Philippines to revisit anti-terror law

[JURIST] A United Nations human rights expert urged the Philippines [statement] Monday to amend or repeal its new anti-terrorism law [JURIST report]. Martin Scheinin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism [official website], specifically expressed concern that the law allows house arrests without strong evidence of guilt and make detentions reviewable by "members of the executive rather than an independent judicial body."

Among other provisions, the 2007 Human Security Act [press release] allows police to detain suspected terrorists for three days without charges, but it also allows victims of unlawful arrest to collect up to 500,000 pesos ($10,350) for each day of wrongful detainment. In addition, the legislation bans the practice of extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive]. Philippines President Gloria Arroyo assured [press release] Filipinos that the law will not infringe on civil liberties as it will only "be used against bombers not protesters." Inquirer.net has more.

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