The changes introduced into the legislation about fight on terrorism and countering extremism made the definition of terrorism very broad in Belarus.
Such an opinion was given by the expert of the Center for Legal Transformation Tamara Sidarenka to the EuroBelarus’s press-service.
According to the amendments and additions to the law “About the fight on terrorism” and “About countering extremism”, which came in power in 12 November, the definition terrorism is changes significantly. Now it implies “social and political criminal incident, representing an ideology and the practice of using violence or threating with violence in order to influence the governing agencies’ decisions, impeding political or other public activity, provoking international conflicts or a war, intimidating the citizens, destabilizing the public order”.
- It is a very broad definition of terrorism. And when a definition is broad, it can be interpreted in any broad way, - Tamara Sidarenka points out. – It is sad that an ideology is included in the definition of terrorism, since anything can be presented as an ideology allegedly connected to propaganda of terrorism ideas.
The definition of terroristic activity has also changed. With the new law coming in power not only “the activities of organization, planning, preparing and carrying out of a terroristic act” will be recognized as terroristic activity, but also “propaganda of terrorism ideas”.
According to Tamara Sidarenka, now it will be harder to prove that a citizen had, for example, only defending his rights as an aim, but not impeding political or other public activity, provoking international conflicts, intimidation of the citizens or destabilizing the public order.
- In fact, any citizen, who publicly discusses the inalienable right to defend his rights and freedoms from the authorities – the rights of resistance is implied – can be recognized as an ideologist of terrorism. And after that the organization can be recognized as terroristic, if the citizen belonged to an organization and expressed himself on its behalf. The law can be interpreted in the way that the person advocates exactly the ideas of terrorism, - the Lawtrend expert explains.
The new definition of terrorism in Belarus will significantly increase the possibilities to recognize organizations and citizens extremist and terroristic, Tamara Sidarenka sums up.