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Bangladesh: Anti-Terrorism Ordinance Approved

(June 2, 2008) On May 18, the Council of Advisors of the present Caretaker Government approved a new law, the Anti-Terrorism Ordinance 2008. The new law's definition of terrorism includes acts that pose a threat to the sovereignty, unity, integrity or security of Bangladesh or create panic among the general masses or obstructs official activities; the use of bombs, dynamite or other explosives, inflammable substances, firearms, or any other chemicals in a way that may injure or kill people to create panic among the public and damage public or private property; and other related acts.

The law provides for speedy trial of terrorists by special courts, with punishments including the death penalty, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for three to twenty years, along with pecuniary measures. Organizations or individuals involved in aiding terrorist activity and sheltering terrorists may also be punished under the new legislation.

Under the new law appropriate government authorities would be able to ban organizations which spread extremist ideology. The Bangladesh Bank has been empowered with special powers to detect and counter terrorist financing. Offences relating to terrorist activities were part of Bangladesh Penal Code and there was no separate law for dealing with terrorists or extremists before the new law was approved. Anti-Terrorism Ordinance of 2008. (Anti-terror Ordinance Okayed, Death Penalty Provision For Offenders, DAILY STAR, June 5, 2008, available at