Bulgaria's New Anti-Terror Bill Sparks Controversy

Politics » DOMESTIC | July 6, 2016, Wednesday // 07:31
Bulgaria: Bulgaria's New Anti-Terror Bill Sparks Controversy File photo, BGNES

The Bulgarian government is to vote Wednesday on new anti-terrorism legislation that, if approved, will give police and the armed forces sweeping powers in case of a terror emergency.

Under the proposed bill, security and law-enforcement officers will be authorized to access private properties and use citizens' cars if necessary during an anti-terror operation.

The officers will be able to restrict the movement, suspend access to Internet or seize documents of people suspected of preparing a terrorist act. Wiretapping suspects will be allowed up to three years, instead of the current six-month period. The move was commented on a security council meeting on Tuesday, with Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova adding she preferred that rights of a few citizens are curbed to protect millions of others.

The introduction of a state of emergency will also be allowed through a decree of Parliament or the President.

The bill also includes three degrees of alert. The highest ope could also be triggered in cases of a threat in a neighboring territory.

Separately, four degrees of readiness will be established, the fourth one launching a set of anti-terror measures that institutions, including schools and kindergartens, will have to apply.

The State Agency for National Security (DANS), Bulgaria's counter-intelligence agency, will be able to send undercover agents to prevent suspects from preparing or carrying out a terror attack.

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Tags: anti-terror laws, anti-terrorism, DANS, security, Rumyana Bachvarova

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