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UAE president endorses tougher counter-terrorism laws

[JURIST] The president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) [BBC backgrounder] endorsed a new law to better combat evolving terrorist [JURIST news archive] threats, state media reported Wednesday. The law, a revision of the country's nearly 10-year-old counter-terrorism law, would introduce new security measures to counter such crimes as attacks on the royal family, the joining of a terrorist force and money laundering. In addition, a person could be charged as a terrorist for simply threatening, planning or inciting a terrorist act. The 70-article bill would also expand penalties for these and other crimes to include the death penalty, life imprisonment and fines of up to USD $27 million. The bill has already been approved by the UAE Federal National Council [official website]. In order for the bill to become law, it must be signed by the UAE Cabinet of Ministers [official website] and signed by President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan [official website].

Many countries have been adapting their counter-terrorism laws and efforts over recent years to combat evolving terrorist threats. In October of last year two UN rights experts, in response to the rapidly growing use of unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles, called upon [JURIST report] states to increase transparency in the use of drones. The two experts urged "States to declassify, to the maximum extent possible, information relevant to their lethal extra-territorial counter-terrorism operations and to release its own data on the level of civilian casualties inflicted through the use of drones." In June 2012 the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged [JURIST report] countries to increase their efforts to counter the prevalent threat of terrorism. He also discussed ways to effectively enforce the strategy including collaboration among nations to implement the strategy, adoption of the strategy at regional levels where terrorism is prevalent and regionally-led responses were ineffective, and developing institutional and technical capacities at the national level.

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