HIDING fugitive terrorists, providing them refuge or giving false information about them during investigations will be considered a crime in itself, under parliament amendments to the 2006 Anti-Terrorism Law.
The amendments have been presented by five MPs led by parliament chairman Ahmed Al Mulla.
It has been backed by parliament’s foreign affairs, defence and national security committee and the Interior Ministry, with the latter suggesting those who provide false information about fugitive terrorists should be prosecuted as accomplices.
“Terrorists threaten the security and stability of this country as they use explosives and weapons to commit their destructive agendas,” said a letter to parliament signed by Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa.
“So prosecuting those who hide them or provide them refuge, as suggested, is on the right track – holding them equally accountable for crimes committed.
“As time passes and terrorists hide within the community under the protection of others, the more the country is in danger.
“There is a risk of more attacks being committed, as those who give them cover – either physically or by giving false testimony during investigations – are helping them plan and commit other crimes.
“Our opinion is not final on the matter, but a clear approach on the amendment will be sent whenever it gets referred to the government.”
Mr Al Mulla told parliament’s foreign affairs, defence and national security committee that anyone who sheltered a terrorist was part of a crimonal network and must be held accountable.
“The whole network, each with different positions and duties, plays a role in terrorism thriving in the country,” he said.
“Hiding terrorists or giving them refuge is a clear authorisation from those sheltering them that they are backing them to commit their crimes.
“There is no such thing as ‘sympathising’ with runaway terrorists, to spare them going to prison.
“Those who provide a safe haven are saying they believe in their (terrorist) ideology and concepts.
“We believe those who shelter runaway terrorists are just as involved as the criminals themselves and deserve to be called an accomplice, even if they cannot be described as masterminds.”