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Canada House of Commons passes expanded anti-terror legislation

Canada's House of Commons [official website] on Wednesday approved a bill [S-7 materials] that provides expanded investigative powers and criminal penalties for terrorism related matters. The short title of the bill is The Combating Terrorism Act. The legislation permits law enforcement to hold individuals suspected of terrorist activities for three days without criminal charges and adds 12 months supervision for suspects released without a conviction. The bill also criminalizes leaving Canada to receive terrorism training or aid terrorist groups and strengthens the criminal penalties for terrorist acts created within Canada. The bill was introduced [legislative history] in February 2012 but was revitalized in the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon [JURIST news archive].

Anti-terrorism laws, and their expanded investigative powers have previously faced judicial review. In December the Supreme Court of Canada [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that the country's controversial Anti-Terrorism Act is constitutional. In the 7-0 ruling, the court dismissed the appeal brought by Mohammed Momin Khawaja [CBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], the first person ever to be charged under the Anti-Terrorism law, affirming a life sentence. The review came after the court announced that it had granted an application for leave to appeal [JURIST report] filed by Khawaja in June 2011. He was found guilty of participating in a terrorist group, instructing a person to finance terrorism, making property available to terrorists, contributing to a terrorist group and facilitating terrorism.

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