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State gazettes terrorism Bill
The Herald (Zimbabwe)
December 18, 2006

http://www1.herald.co.zw/inside.aspx?sectid=12786&livedate=12/18/2006%2012:00:00%20AM&cat=1

GOVERNMENT has gazetted the Suppression of Foreign and International Terrorism Bill that seeks to give it enough power to deal with terrorism and mercenary activities, which are increasingly becoming a problem worldwide.

The Bill, which was gazetted last Friday, was expected to adequately address the phenomenon of terrorism waged on an international scale.

At present, Zimbabwe has no laws that adequately deal with terrorism and mercenary activities on an international scale.

The Bill provides for the suppression of foreign and international terrorism and mercenary activities and seeks to repeal the Foreign Subversive Organisations Act which does not address the problems adequately. The tabling of the Bill comes in the wake of the arrest in 2004 by Zimbabwe’s security forces at Harare International Airport of 67 mercenaries in transit to Equatorial Guinea to topple the government in the West African country.

Clause three of the Bill provides for the punishment of persons who engage in foreign or international terrorist activity.

Clauses four to six make it an offence to undergo training for foreign or international terrorism, to recruit persons to undergo such training, or to possess weaponry that would be used for the purpose of foreign or international terrorist activity.

The maximum penalty for these offences would be life imprisonment.

The Bill seeks to make it an offence to knowingly harbour or conceal a foreign terrorist or to fail to report such terrorist within 72 hours of becoming aware of his or her presence in Zimbabwe.

The maximum penalties for these offences would be a fine of level 14 or 10 years’ imprisonment or both.

In the case of harbouring or concealing a foreign or international terrorist, a fine of level 10 or five years’ imprisonment or both would be imposed for failing to report one or failing to disclose such a terrorist’s presence upon being questioned by an official.

Clause eight provides for the designation of specific foreign or international terrorist organisations.

According to the clause, the Minister of Justice may, after consultations with the Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs, designate by notice in a statutory instrument any organisation to be a foreign or international terrorist organisation for the purpose of the Act.

The designation of an organisation would have an effect of having the organisation declared as unlawful.

The clause, however, provides for any designated organisation or any person affected by the organisation’s designation to apply to the Minister in the prescribed manner for the Minister to revoke the designation of the organisation.

Clause 10 provides for the punishment of persons soliciting support for designated foreign or international terrorist organisations while clause 11 provides for the punishment of persons supplying weaponry to foreign or international terrorist organisations and the offence carries a penalty of life imprisonment.

Clause 12 and 13 seek to punish persons, who provide other forms of direct assistance to foreign or international terrorist organisations.

For example, clause 13 (a) seeks to punish any person who receives or holds money or other property on behalf of any foreign or international terrorist organisation.

The Bill defines foreign or international terrorist organisation as any associations of persons formed with a view to overthrowing or taking over the government of any foreign state by unlawful means or usurping the functions of such government.

Foreign or international terrorist activity is defined as doing any act inside or outside Zimbabwe against the government of any foreign state which, if committed against the Government of Zimbabwe, would constitute an act of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism.

Authorities in Harare intercepted mercenaries who had made a stopover at Harare International Airport to collect weapons at Manyame airbase en route to Equatorial Guinea where they allegedly wanted to topple the government. Members of the group were convicted and jailed for varying periods. All of them, with the exception of their leader Simon Mann, a Briton, have been released after completing their terms.

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