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Austria adopts anti-terror package, ‘preventive detention’ on hold

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Following 2 Nov. attack:

In the wake of recent attack in Vienna that claimed the lives of four persons, Austria has adopted a security package to deal with terrorism. Austria made initial announcement a week after the Nov 2 attack blamed on a person described as an Islamist.

According to Austrian media, the government presented the package on Wednesday, Dec 16. In terms of the new package, the symbol law has been amended so that symbols of the right-wing extremist Identitarian Movement and those of some Islamist organizations could be banned; the media quoted Interior Minister Karl Nehammer as having said. The media also attributed stepped up electronic surveillance to Interior Minister Karl Nehammer and Justice Minister Alma Zadic.

However, the government refrained from adopting what it called preventive detention as part of overall security reforms for the time being.

The anti-terror package consists of following measures:

· Creation of a new criminal offense: The central component of the federal government’s new anti-terrorist package is the creation of a separate criminal offense to combat political Islam. The new paragraph 247b “Religiously motivated extremist association” in the Criminal Code is directed against organizations that fight the democratic constitutional order and want to replace it with a religiously based social and state order (such as the Sharia). According to the Criminal Code, anyone who establishes such an association, is a leader in such an association or otherwise participates in or supports it can now be punished.

Religiously motivated political extremism is becoming an aggravating factor under criminal law: A new aggravation factor for religiously motivated extremist motives is also being introduced. This should make it possible to take effective action against new forms of extremism.

· Radical mosques will be closed: Changes in the Islamic Law will create a new legal basis for closing radical mosques more quickly and easily. Specifically, in the future, the Office of Cultural Affairs should react much faster – and in particularly serious cases even without being asked to stop – and close mosques.

· Introduction of an imams’ directory: mosques and imams must be listed in a new directory. This directory will also include foreign imams and enables a transparent overview of which imam is preaching in which mosque, according to Integration Minister Susanne Raab (ÖVP). In this way, effective action can be taken against mosques that provide a platform for hate preachers from abroad. Sanctions are also planned for non-compliance.

· Stricter foreign financing ban: The foreign financing ban on mosques (Islam Law 2015) is now being tightened. In future, mosque institutions and the associations behind the mosques will be legally obliged to submit all financial documents. Here too, sanctions are planned for non-compliance.

· Improved data exchange: In addition, appropriate legal bases are created in order to improve the data and information exchange between the security authorities and the cultural office to implement these measures.



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MP’s wife, father-in-law among three detained

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Rishad held under PTA to be questioned

16-year-old girl’s death:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Police investigating the death of 16-year-old Ishalini, the domestic servant at All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader Rishad Bathiudeen’s Baudhaloka Mawatha residence have arrested Ayesha Shiabdeen, 46, the wife of the former minister.

Police also took into custody Rishad’s father-in-law Mohammed Shiabdeen, 70, and Ponnaiah Pandaram alias Shankar, 64, a resident of Dayagama.

Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said that Shankar had brought Ilashini from Dayagama to the Baudhaloka Mawatha residence of Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Vanni District lawmaker late last year.

Having studied the post postmortem report, they were taken into custody in terms of Section 360 C and Section 308 B of the Penal Code that dealt with human trafficking and cruelty to children, the top police officer said. According to him, so far 20 statements had been recorded.

Asked whether MP Bathiudeen, too, had been among the questioned, Senior DIG Rohana said the parliamentarian detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) over 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, too, would be interrogated in that regard.

The ACMC contested the last general election on the SJB ticket. It switched its allegiance to the SJB ahead of 2020 general election after having represented the cabinet in UNP led yahapalana administration. Rishad has also served President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet during his second term.

Having suffered serious burn injuries on July 3 at the MP’s residence and admitted to the National Hospital, Illashini succumbed to her injuries on July 15th. Medical examination revealed that she had been raped over a period of time.

The police spokesman said that they intended to secure court approval to detain the suspects for 72 hours. A Superintendent of Police could obtain such approval on the strength of a B report submitted to the court in respect of offenses on children.

Although, the police indicated earlier in the day they would be produced in Colombo Magistrate court they weren’t brought in.

Meanwhile, the SJB said that interested parties were making a despicable attempt to politicize the incident. The police should be allowed to conduct the investigation without interference, a spokesman for the main Opposition party said.

 

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Women’s organisations in North conduct protests demanding justice for Ilashini

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A section of those engaged in Jaffna protests

 

By Dinasena Ratugamage

Women’s organisations in the North yesterday held a number of demonstrations in Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Jaffna against the death of J. Ilashini, the 16 -year-old girl who died while working at SJB MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s residence.

The protesters urged authorities to ensure that investigations into the death are conducted in a transparent manner. The family of the victim should be compensated and those guilty punished, they said.

Representatives of the organisations said that if justice was not done, they would hold a massive demonstration in Tarapuram, Mannar, which Bathiudeen represents in Parliament.

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Dancer lodges complaint with police over FB post 

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Police headquarters yesterday (23) said that dancer Anusha Damayanthi had lodged a complaint with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over a Facebook post alleging that she was running a brothel.

Police headquarters said that Damayanthi, while denying the accusation, had also brought to the CID’s notice that a minister was being accused of lambasting the Walana anti-crime strike force for carrying out the raid. Police said that an investigation was underway.

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