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Spain's PP presents terror laws without consulting PSOE

Source: El Pais - Tue 23rd Dec 2014
Spain's PP presents terror laws without consulting PSOE

The Partido Popular administration is planning on a complete overhaul of the penal code with regard to terrorism offenses, and will be using its absolute majority in Congress to push the new legislation through. A total of 90 measures will be studied in Spain's lower house, but they will not be discussed with the main PSOE opposition beforehand, as has been the standard approach until now for terrorism laws.

The unilateral proposals will entirely change the nature of the legal fight against terrorism by penalizing more individual actions than those of organized groups, and by honing in on the intention of forming part of a group rather than the actual carrying out of acts. Anyone who is found to have looked at web pages seeking recruits to terrorist groups, for example, could face between eight and 10 years in prison.

The PSOE has responded to the government's plan by claiming that the PP has broken all consensus in the fight against terrorism by presenting such a proposal without prior consultation. The conservative party is planning on approving the changes without studies to back them up.

"The heads of the Socialist Party had no knowledge whatsoever of these measures […], which have been presented in a way that has broken a constant that has been in place over the last 30 years, and that was the consideration of terrorism as a question of state […]," said the PSOE deputy in charge of penal code reforms, Manuel de la Rocha. "For the first time in the democratic period, the government, that of the PP, has skipped this golden rule and is acting unilaterally, which in itself is a serious issue," he continued.

These measures will be rushed through Congress, and could be in place early next year. The PP has explained that it will seek agreements with other parties, but is willing to go it alone, as it did with a recently passed law that introduces massive fines for certain infractions at public protests – legislation that citizens and opposition politicians alike have dubbed a "gag law."

"The government is completely changing the way that the penal code deals with [the question of terrorism] until now, which was based on terrorist groups and organizations, with one article nearly right at the end referring to terrorists who act without belonging to such a group," explains De la Rocha. "In the new legislation that's been presented, that last point is the center of all of the regulations, with the membership of an organization a marginal issue. This is probably based on the jihadist phenomenon. We are studying it to analyze it and negotiate, if the government allows for that."

As De la Rocha explained, the new legislation will do away with the requirement of belonging to an armed group and will focus instead on new phenomena such as jihadists, whereby suspects may act alone. The legislation will be aimed at "those who have shown their willingness to commit [such offenses] or collaborate with a group conspiring to commit them or has begun preparations for such actions. Not with a group, rather with an individual who is going to commit a terrorist crime."

De la Rocha went on to say that another article of the planned legislation "specifies receiving training […] via any means, including the internet, and does not require proof of the intention of later committing an offense […]." That's to say, the measures could punish anyone who looks at websites aimed at seeking recruits for a terrorist organization to between 1 - 8 years in prison, with no evidence needed of the intention to commit an attack.

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Comment on this Story

 
WTF!?!! - So let me get this straight. If I accidentally click on a link from a website or an advert where the link has been hijacked, which then takes me to one of these recruitment pages, I would automatically be deemed guilty and sent to prison, but if i'm a politician, royal or celebrity and steal millions of euros of tax payers money, i'll get a slap on the wrist and make even more millions from the TV and newspaper interviews... Franco lives people!!
Ed Bishop - Tue, 23rd Dec 2014