Bar raises terror-bill misgivings

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 July, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 July, 2002, 12:00am

A person wrongly labelled a terrorist should not have to prove to the courts that a serious mistake has been made to receive compensation, according to the Bar Association.

The United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) Bill, to localise UN sanctions against terrorist activities, is due to be tabled for final approval at Legco today.

'The fact that a person was wrongfully specified as a terrorist/terrorist associate or has his property seized should be sufficient to give rise to the court's discretion to order compensation,' the association said in a submission on the bill. 'It will be going too far to require the victim to satisfy the court that there has been some serious default.'

The government has agreed to introduce an amendment to allow those wrongly identified as terrorists, or their associates, to seek compensation.

The association also said the definition of terrorist property was too wide and should be 'any property, including funds, that is intended to be used to finance or otherwise assist the commission of a terrorist act'.

The existing definition includes any property of a terrorist or terrorist associate.

The association joined four legislators - Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, Emily Lau Wai-hing and Cyd Ho Sau-lan, in accusing the government of rushing through the legislation.

Last night, a government spokesman defended the need to urgently enact the law.

'We firmly believe that the bill, together with our committee stage amendments, will strike a balance between curbing terrorism and protecting people's rights and freedoms,' the spokesman said.