Terrorism Suppression Act
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After the attacks of 9/11 the government followed United Nations resolutions and passed the Terrorism Suppression Act, 2002.
New Zealand’s definition of a terrorist act is:
“one intended to cause death or serious bodily injury, done to advance an ideological, political or religious cause and intended to induce terror in a civilian population or unduly compel government or international organization to do or abstain doing something”. (See below)
The definition includes not just “doing” but planning and preparation too.
Are “terrorists” defined in the Terrorism Suppression Act?
Yes. Under Section 22 of the Act the Prime Minister may name or designate certain individuals or organisations as a terrorist entity.
What does a person or group have to do to be on the ‘terrorist’ list?
The Act defines terrorist activity as terrorising a population, bombing, and other acts of violence.
Amendments which expand some of the definitions of terrorist organisations are due in Parliament this month.
What kind of people are on the list?
The list mainly consists of groups such as Al Quaeda and similar organisations or people like Sulaiman Jassem Sulaiman Abo Ghaith, a spokesperson for Al Quaeda.
Are there any Mäori or other people in New Zealand on that list at the moment?
No……although people are deliberately being convinced to believe there are…..
If you are charged with the Terrorist Suppression Act, what can you do to protect yourself in court?
The law says you have no rights to:
It is difficult to defend yourself in a court of law, if you don’t the evidence you are being accused of.
Police Powers – what are they?
Under the legislation Police must get approval from the Attorney General to lay any terrorism charges and a logical three
1. Gather the appropriate “terrorist” evidence to warrant charges being laid.
How did Operation Eight become an “antiterrorist action” then?
The Crown chose to call it an anti-terrorist operation in initial press releases and politicians and most sections of the media then uncritically did the same.
Did the Police actually use any of the procedures under the terrorism legislation?
What happened instead?
Almost the opposite. Most search warrants were granted under the Summary Offences Act and most arrests were made under the Firearms Act. People are now being held in custody while cases are prepared for the Attorney General.
Such an approach raises serious legal and ethical issues including whether detention is being used merely so that the authorities can “fish” for proof of terrorism. It also smacks of holding for an undisclosed or dishonest cause which has raised some comparisons with Guantanamo Bay.
Are there historical parallels?
Yes. Mäori see symmetries between the Terrorism Suppression Act and the 1863 Suppression of Rebellion Act. The targeting of mainly Mäori as “terrorists’ in fact mirrors the earlier legislative labelling of those Iwi who resisted the land confiscations as “rebels”.
Tuhoe see particular parallels with the fatal Police raid on Maungapohatu in 1916. The unthinking or deliberately provocative setting up of the latest Police roadblock on the confiscation line simply added to the grievance and the sense of colonising déjà
Where to now?
The court process will unfold and claims may also be laid with such bodies as the Human Rights Commission and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The possible human rights abuses may also be linked to the Crown’s failure to support the Declaration on Indigenous Rights and to encourage international opposition to the government’s lobbying for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.
The recent “anti-terrorist” Operation Eight in Tuhoe and elsewhere have left many whänau and communities confused, hurt
Politicians have urged people to withhold comment or criticism until the judicial process has been played out but the flaws in the process to date plus the very real hurt that has been caused, particularly in the Mäori community, calls for some clarification.
Moana Jackson attempts to address the concerns of many people, Mäori and Päkehä, and to clarify some of the major
The Terrorism Supression Act 2002 can be found at http://www.legislation.govt.nz/browse_vw.asp
Section 5 of the Act defines terrorism.
Terrorist acts include some acts defined in some UN conventions relating to terrorism. These do not seem relevant to the situation at hand. Here is the relevant part, found in sections 5(2) and 5(3).
An act is a terrorist act
5(2) is carried out for the purpose of advancing an ideological, political, or religious cause, and with the following intention: either (a) to induce terror in a civilian population; or (b) to unduly compel or to force a government or an international organisation to do or abstain from doing any act.
5(3) is intended to cause one or more of (a) to (e) below. (a) the death of, or other serious bodily injury to, 1 or more persons (other than a person carrying out the act). (b) a serious risk to the health or safety of a population (c) destruction of, or serious damage to, property of great value or importance, or major economic loss, or major environmental damage, if likely to result in 1 or more outcomes specified in paragraphs (a), (b), and (d). (d) serious interference with, or serious disruption to, an infrastructure facility, if likely to endanger human life. (e) introduction or release of a disease-bearing organism, if likely to devastate the national economy of a country.
Note that a terrorist act MUST intend to cause one or more of the sorts of harm mentioned in 5(3). The purpose and intent mentioned in 5(2) is not sufficient by itself to constitute a terrorist act.
Section 5(5) clarifies that the fact that a person engages in any protest, advocacy, or dissent, or engages in any strike, lockout, or other industrial action, is not, by itself, a sufficient basis for inferring that the person is carrying out an act for a purpose, or with an intention, specified in 5(2); or intends to cause an outcome specified in 5(3).