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Bulgaria Justice Ministry proposes criminal code changes to fight terrorism

[JURIST] The Bulgarian Ministry of Justice [official website, in Bulgarian] proposed a bill [materials; press release] amending and supplementing Bulgaria's criminal code to address growing threats of terrorism on Tuesday. The purpose of the bill is to fill in gaps of the criminal code, as well as to fulfill Bulgaria's commitments under UN Security Council Resolution 2178 [text, PDF] to fight against terrorism. The bill proposes restricting the movements of people traveling with the goal of preparing, planning or participating in terrorism. The bill also would punish those who participate in the financing, planning or preparing to commit terrorist acts by providing or receiving terrorist training. Punishments for those committing cyber-terrorism have also been proposed. All provisions aim to prevent terrorists from finding safe haven in Bulgaria.

Countries around the world have modified existing laws or passed new laws to curb fears of increasing extremism and terrorism, but critics argue that expansionary laws infringe on basic individual human rights. Last month the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] urged [JURIST report] Spain to reject two suggested legal reformations that they say may disrupt freedoms of association and expression. In January Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] criticized [JURIST report] China's proposed new counter-terrorism legislation as a "recipe for abuses." The Chinese government maintains that their draft law conforms to UN resolutions and that it allows for human rights to be respected and guaranteed. Also in January Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain signed into law [JURIST report] anti-terrorism legislation that will establish military courts for the hearing of civilian terrorism related cases. In December Kenya's parliament passed a sweeping new anti-terrorism law [JURIST report] after some of its members engaged in a shoving match that led to blows being exchanged. However, two weeks later the High Court of Kenya suspended eight sections [JURIST report] of the country's new anti-terrorism law until a legal challenge by the opposition is heard by the court.

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