ADDIS ABEBA – Council of Ministers has passed a revised anti-terrorism bill in a meeting it’s held on Saturday, said the Prime Minister Office.
The bill had reached Cabinet last week after a marathon of discussion that amid at mending provisions of an anti-terrorism law that critics say has criminalized dissent.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the PM office said the current law has gaps in terms of both content and practicality.
It has put citizens’ rights and freedom of speech in jeopardy, and, therefore, the need for the revision of the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, according to the office.
Human Rights Watch has previously said the existing law “grants authorities the power to prosecute journalists who publish articles about protest movements, armed opposition groups, or any other individuals deemed as terrorist or anti-peace”.
The revised version tries to correct that and introduces new articles including holding government bodies and the law enforcement entities involved in preventing acts of terrorism accountable.
It also incorporates disciplinary measures on those involved in the process of investigating terrorism cases and those who violate the law in the process.
After a thorough discussion and some changes to the draft document, the Council of Ministers referred the draft document to the lower house parliament for approval.
Meanwhile, the Council also sent the bill drafted by the Ministries of Revenue and Finance to amend the Value Added Tax proclamation to the parliament for approval.
It also decided the agreements signed for gold, copper, and silver production between the Ministry of Mines and Energy and Tigray Resources Incorporate PLC to come into effect.
By Our Staff Writer