The parliament has passed amendments to the Anti-Terrorism Act on Monday granting sweeping power to the Maldives Police Service.
The bill makes it legal for police to arrest a terrorism suspect without a court warrant and also grants permission to search and seize without prior permission.
When ratified the police can hold terrorism suspects fore up to 24-hours without being brought in front of a judge. The accused have the right to an attorney but can only get help after 24-hours.
The bill would greatly narrow important basic right such as right to an attorney and right to appear before a judge after arrest.
The amendments, passed with the backing of 52 members, identifies seven key crimes as acts of terrorism.
Crimes considered as terrorism:
- Grievous bodily harm
- Endangering a human being
- Destroying goods
- Hijacking of a vessel or vehicle that carries passengers or freight
- Producing a situation where the lives of many are under danger
The bill also criminalizes aiding or expressing support for a terrorist groups, joining a terrorist war, or helping a person support a terrorist war or expressing interest to join a terrorist war.