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November 28, 2015

Slovak government approves anti-terrorist bills

Package of bills will increase police powers on searches, detention and cyberspace

Bratislava, Nov 27 (ČTK) — The Slovak government approved a package of bills strengthening the powers of the police and secret services and tightening the punishment of acts of terrorism in reaction to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

“Slovakia’s security is a priority for the government. The government sees a clear connection between migration and the terrorist threats,” Prime Minister Robert Fico told journalists.

According to the new bills, police will be able to detain anyone in a place where there is a threat of a terrorist attack or where it has already occurred.

The powers of the police to search means of transport and to confine people to determined places will be extended.

Based on court consent, the police will have incessant approach to the operational and localization data of mobile operators on their clients who are wanted.

Prisons will be able to wiretap the phones of convicted persons with the exception of communication with their lawyers. The same rule is to apply to accused people taken into custody.

The SIS civil secret service and the military intelligence will probably also have new powers and tasks.

The SIS will be able to propose to court that it ban the operation of the Internet portals that promote terrorism, extremism and sects.

It will start gathering information on illegal migration and cyber threats and it will gain access to the recordings of camera systems monitoring public space.

The founders and supporters of a terrorist group would face minimally ten years in prison compared with eight years now.

Another person but a police, playing the role of a police agent, would be allowed to help detectives in uncovering the perpetrators of terrorist crimes.

The government also proposed that courts be able to take into custody any person suspected of terrorism. This means that judges would not be obliged to examine whether the accused person could approach witnesses or avoid criminal proceedings, which are now conditions for a person to be remanded in custody.

The proposed changes to 15 laws will be debated at the current parliament session in a shortened procedure.

Fico’s party Smer-Social Democrats has a comfortable majority in parliament.

The government also proposed that the constitution be amended so that the deadlines for detention of persons suspected of terrorism could be extended.

To succeed with constitutional changes that require the agreement of at least three fifths of all lawmakers, the government needs support of the opposition.

Fico, whose government has rejected the redistribution of migrants across the EU based on quotas, repeated that the EU did not manage the current migrant crisis.

“Hundreds of thousands of people have entered Europe without control and identification and it is possible that there is a big number of Islamic State fighters on the territory of Europe,” Fico said.

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