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HRW: Counterterrorism laws often disregard basic human rights

Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] released a report [text, PDF] on Friday criticizing governments across the globe for implementing counterterrorism laws that allegedly infringe upon suspects' due process and basic human rights. While the report acknowledges that terrorism is a serious issue that needs to be addressed, it asserts that counterterrorism laws passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks [JURIST report] often are too expansive, and violate individual rights in the name of security:

[T]hese post-September 11 laws, when viewed as a whole, represent a broad and dangerous expansion of government powers to investigate, arrest, detain, and prosecute individuals at the expense of due process, judicial oversight, and public transparency. Such laws merit close attention, not only because many of them restrict or violate the rights of suspects, but also because they can be and have been used to stifle peaceful political dissent or to target particular religious, ethnic, or social groups.
According to HRW, more than 140 nations have passed counterterrorism laws since September 11, 2001.

Terrorism continues to be an important legal issue both in the US and abroad. Earlier this week, police in India arrested a new suspect [JURIST report] in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Last week, a New York native and terror suspect pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to providing material support to al Qaeda [JURIST news archive]. In May, police in Sri Lanka released the names [JURIST report] of thousands of people being held under the nation's anti-terror laws.

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