UK enacts strict anti-terror legislation

UK enacts strict anti-terror legislation

[JURIST] The UK on Friday enacted anti-terror legislation to help combat terrorism by curbing the number of British citizens joining Islamic State (IS) and other militant groups in Iraq and Syria. The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act [HL Bill 75, PDF] expands the current anti-terror law and includes provisions allowing [WSJ report] the UK to stop a citizen’s re-entry into the country when he or she is suspected of aiding terrorist groups and requiring internet providers to maintain communication data of UK citizens to allow the police to find individuals who may be using certain devices. Civil rights groups have criticized the re-entry provision, stating that it could violate international law. Internet providers have similarly objected to the data-maintaining provision, asserting that this imposes costs onto the companies and no benefits are provided in return. Home Secretary Theresa May [official profile] explained that the UK undertook a necessary measure in enacting the legislation: “This important legislation will disrupt the ability of people to travel abroad to fight and then return, enhance our ability to monitor and control the actions of those who pose a threat, and combat the underlying ideology that feeds, supports and sanctions terrorism.” The legislation will take effect next week.

The UK enacted the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act in response to last month’s deadly shootings [Reuters report] by French Islamists. Following the shooting, the Paris Administrative Tribunal upheld a ban [JURIST report] on an anti-Islamist rally. French police have arrested [JURIST report] 54 people for verbally supporting or threatening terrorist acts in the wake of the terrorist attacks, including four minors and French comedian Dieudonne who is known for his anti-Semitic views. The French Justice Ministry also called on prosecutors to crack down on [JURIST report] hate speech, anti-Semitism and support of terrorism.