Bulgaria's New Anti-Terror Bill Sparks Controversy
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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