19 Sep 2003

Indonesia to tighten anti-terrorism laws

3:45 pm on 19 September 2003

The Indonesian government is proposing widening the powers of the police by giving them new anti-terrorist powers as part of Jakarta's review of the new anti-terrorism bill.

The chairman of the government team reviewing the bill, Abdul Gani Abdullah, says under the new provisions police can arrest anyone planning a terrorist attack.

The Jakarta Post reports that Mr Abdullah as saying those planning terrorist acts could face arrest based on intelligence reports.

Police investigators have complained that existing anti-terrorism laws do not allow them to take pre-emptive action because they can only arrest suspects based upon prima facie evidence.

The planned change has raised concern of possible human rights abuses.

Mr Abdullah says before arresting someone believed to be hatching a terrorist plot, police would have to obtain an arrest warrant from the local district court.