Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Lawyers, accountants face death penalty in new terror law

Lawyers, accountants face death penalty in new terror law

Sep 10, 03 05:58am

Lawyers and accountants who provide financial services for terrorists could face the death penalty under proposed new legislation, local media reported today.

Amendments to the Penal Code submitted to parliament on Tuesday aim to punish not only terrorists but those who provide them with services or facilities, The Star newspaper said.

If terrorist acts result in death, then lawyers and accountants who helped the terrorists can be executed, the paper said. The death penalty in Malaysia is carried out by hanging.

Those who escape execution face jail terms of between seven and 30 years.

The proposed legislation also provides tough sentences of up to life imprisonment for anyone who harbours or interferes with the arrest of terrorists, recruits members into a terrorist group or provides them with explosives or facilities such as meeting places.

International convention

The amendments to the Penal Code "will enable Malaysia to accede to the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism adopted by the general assembly of the United Nations on Dec 9,1999," the bill says.

Malaysia already has legislation allowing for indefinite detention without trial which it has used to round up more than 90 alleged Islamic militants over the past two years.

Many of the suspects are accused of being members of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terrorist network, a Southeast Asian group linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda.

JI has been blamed for a string of attacks in the region, including last October's Bali blasts which killed 202 people and the car bombing of the Marriott hotel in Jakarta last month in which 12 people died.

The United States last weekend listed 10 Malaysians as alleged members of JI and ordered a freeze of their financial assets.

Six of the 10 are already in detention while four others, including alleged master bomb-maker Azahari Husin, are on the run. - AFP