Concerns over anti-terrorism laws
Publish date: 10 April 2017
Issue Number: 721
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Anti-terrorism laws that were passed by Senegal's National Assembly in October, are ‘draconian’ and could ‘restrict freedom of expression and roll back the rule of law’. That’s according to Amnesty International (AI) which notes that the laws in question were passed as part of the government's efforts to deal with terrorism in the region, including Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Niger, Nigeria and Mali. Recognising the country's need to deal with terror threats, AI says that Senegalese officials could have enacted legislation that dealt with the problem and also protected its citizens' human rights. The Jurist reports that AI claims the vagueness of the laws are likely to be problematic, as violations such as ‘insults’ and affronts to ‘morality’ could be loosely interpreted in a way that suppress dissident opinions. Other provisions of the new laws criticised by AI include those designed to prevent ‘defamation of the President of the Republic’, ‘the dissemination of false news’, and acts likely to ‘cause serious political unrest’.