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MPs pass controversial national security bill

Author : Hellen Achayo | Published: Thursday, October 9, 2014

The government has passed a controversial Security Bill despite stiff protest from Members of the Parliament.

There are 3 key provisions in the bill that MPs, majority, considered problematic: 12(d) on state’s power to seize property, 50(1) on arrest without a warrant and 51(d) on state evading its functions to materially provide for those it detains.

Hon Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec, of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-Democratic, said they had requested for the sitting to be suspended for 24 hours so that they could get time to look into the amendments that were made in the bill.

He said their request was opposed, prompting them to walk out.

“But today because of the seriousness of the bill, we requested 24 hours; suspension of the sitting for 24 hours so that we could look into the report. This thing was vehemently opposed,” Hon Adigo said.

However, according to the Conduct Regulations 28, any work or any order of the day should be presented to the assembly within 72 hours so that lawmakers can have ample time to look at it.

“When they brought the report, they had some of the changes which they have made. And even when the person presenting it was reading, he was not reading it fully because there are some other places which they might have made, confusing the people in the house.”

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the committee for Defense, Security and Public, Samuel Duwar Deng, says once the bill is passed into law, security activities in the country is expected to improve.

“We expect the service should be running their activities in the smoothest way because when the service was actually operating, it was operating out of the legal frame work,” he said.

Earlier, some MPs had said institutions such as the human rights commission and line ministries should first be consulted before passing the bill into the fourth and final reading.

Earlier this week, the United States government expressed concern about the bill, saying it was at odds with the freedoms in the transitional constitution.

In a statement, it said the bill, if passed into law, ‘could restrict civil society space and hinder the formation and operation of NGOs’.

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