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Denmark: Proposed Anti-Terrorism Law Calls for Secret Courts, Electronic Tags

(Apr. 24, 2009) It was reported on April 6, 2009, that Denmark is preparing a new anti-terrorism bill that would permit sensitive intelligence against terrorist suspects to be presented in secret courts and would allow foreign suspects who do not meet location requirements to remain in the country on exceptional leave through the use of electronic tags. The bill was drafted after the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) refused to divulge intelligence in the case of an alleged murder plot by two foreign suspects against one of Denmark's “Muhammad cartoonists.” (Danish Government Said Ready to Propose Secret Courts for Sensitive Terror Cases, POLITIKEN.DK, Apr. 6, 2009, World News Connection online subscription database, NewsEdge Doc. No. 200904061477.1_8fc400436b152f77.) On September 30, 2005, the JYLLANDS-POSTEN newspaper published 12 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (which were reprinted by other Western media in early 2006), sparking protests in Muslim countries. On February 12, 2008, Danish authorities arrested three people – two Tunisians and a Danish citizen of Moroccan origin – in connection with a foiled assassination attempt against Kurt Westergaard, who had depicted the Prophet wearing a bomb-shaped turban. (Jan M. Olsen, Denmark: 3 Arrests in Cartoonist Plot, AP, Feb. 12, 2008, available at

PET stated that it feared providing information in open court would compromise its working methods and sources. The two suspects in the case were administratively expelled from Denmark; one left voluntarily, but the other was given exceptional leave to stay in the country due to the concern that his expulsion to Tunisia could result in his being tortured there. If the Danish Parliament approves the bill, PET could provide the intelligence in secret. In the words of its drafter, Minister for Integration Birthe Ronn Hornbech, “I am satisfied that there is now an effective model to handle cases of administrative expulsion in court.” (POLITIKEN.DK, supra.)

Under the bill, tagging would be used when persons on exceptional leave in Denmark refuse to obey requirements to appear at specified times at the Sandholm Camp in Northern Zealand. The leg tags could be attached for a month “on those who ignore location requirements at least four times.” (Id.)