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Morocco drafting sweeping anti-terror legislation

Special to World
Monday, February 17, 2003

CAIRO Morocco's parliament plans to consider government legislation to fight Islamic insurgents.

The legislation approved by the government is regarded as one of the most comprehensive being drafted by an Arab country, officials said. The bill defines terrorism and seeks to halt financing to insurgents.

The Moroccan House of Representatives has relayed the legislation, termed Bill 03/03, to the Justice, Legislation and Human Rights Committee. The committee begins to discuss the bill this week.

Officials said the bill would also set sentences for those who commit crimes deemed as terrorist. The legislation would also discuss government control of financial information meant to trace funding to insurgents.

The legislation was drafted in wake of the capture of at least two Al Qaida cells that operated in the North African kingdom. Moroccan authorities are said to have detained 1,000 suspected Islamic insurgents in a crackdown on Al Qaida and its supporters.

The arrests were meant to stop attacks on Western nationals in Morocco.

On Thursday, the British government warned its citizens of the mounting prospect of attacks in such public places as hotel and shopping malls in the North African country.

Officials said the legislation will not violate human rights. They said the bill was drafted in accordance with international agreements

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