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Mozambique’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, yesterday approved the Law to Combat Terrorism, which punishes acts of terrorism with sentences between 20 and 24 years in prison and freezes assets used in such crimes.
The law was adopted by a consensus of the ruling majority Mozambican Liberation Front (Frelimo) party, the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), the main opposition party, and the Mozambican Democratic Movement (MDM), the third largest party in the country, with a minority group in the Assembly.
Under the bill adopted yesterday, terrorism-related offences are subject to a worsening penalty if they qualify as “heinous terrorist crimes”, defined as offences committed with physical or psychological violence through localised attacks on elements or government facilities or the population with the aim of instilling fear and terror.
The law also provides for a sentence of 12 to 16 years for those joining a terrorist group and a penalty of eight to 12 years in prison for acts preparatory to the formation of a terrorist group.
The law, which has yet to be enacted by the head of state, gives the attorney general or a proxy appointed by him the power to freeze the financial assets and other resources of persons involved in acts of terrorism.
The Minister of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Agostinho Mondlane, who presented the bill on behalf of the Council of Ministers [Cabinet], said the legal instrument aimed to establish new mechanisms for the prevention and punishment of terrorism.
“The prevention and fight against terrorism and cross-border organised crime demands combined efforts at the global level, through the definition, implementation and monitoring of sound and coordinated policies among states,” Minister Mondlane said.
The law was passed at a time when alleged Islamist groups have been launching attacks against civilian and state targets.in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.Source: Lusa