The Trinidad Guardian / T&T nationals who travel for the purpose of planning, committing, supporting or facilitating a terrorist act would-on conviction-be liable to a $25 million fine and 25 years in jail, under proposed anti-terrorism amendments.
The proposal is among amendments to anti-terrorism law contained in a report by a Joint Select team which examined proposals to strengthen the law. The JSC’s report laid in Parliament recently will be debated in Parliament today.
Muslims of T&T PRO Imtiaz Mohammed said yesterday representatives of a number of Muslims groups will attend Parliament to hear the debate.
“We issued a message to all Jamaats to see if their representatives would attend. Some confirmed they will. It is only proper that we hear the debate since we made submissions to the JSC and we understand changes have been made to proposed amendments -but we still have some concerns on a few things in the report,” Mohammed added.
Amendments to the Anti-Terrorism Act were announced last year after a US television commentator spoke about T&T nationals joining the Islamic State (Isis) terror group. It was subsequently revealed in February 2017 by National Security Minister Edmund Dillon that 130 people-fighters and families-had gone overseas and joined up.
Minister in the Attorney General’s office Fitzgerald Hinds in last year’s Budget debate, said the current figure was 180 people.
After T&T came up with the amendments Caricom states-which revealed they were tracking 200 Caribbean nationals with international terrorist groups-also agreed to model their respective anti-terrorism laws on T&T’s. Up to recently US concerns were expressed about T&T’s high rate of recruitment by Isis, described as being the highest per capita regionally. This was during the US senate hearing for US Ambassador-designate to T&T Joseph Mondello.
Several changes have been made to the original amendments including proposed increases of fines/jail terms.
However, focus has been maintained, particularly on those involved in, assisting/supporting/giving input on terrorist acts, recruitment, making chemical or other terrorist weaponry, collecting funds for terrorist purposes, carrying children to get involved in such activities, businesses involved in terrorist financing and on travel to designated/conflict zones.
The proposed amendment
Section 15A states that person who travels for the purpose of (a) planning a terrorist act (b) committing a terrorist act (c) supporting a terrorist act or (d) facilitating the commission of a terrorist act, commits an offence and shall on conviction on indictment be liable to a fine of 25 million dollars and to imprisonment for 25 years.
Last month it was revealed several Rio Claro T&T women- Anisa Mohammed and daughters Sabirah Kumar, Azizah Mohammed, Aiydah Waheed-Hasib-were each sentenced by a Baghdad court to 20 years in jail for Isis links.
They were among people held by Iraqi authorities last August after the Isis forces group’s ranks fell to international assault. The family, including their father Daoud Mohammed, had travelled to Syria, an Isis war zone, in 2015.
Father of the women, Rio Claro mosque Imam Nazim Mohammed said yesterday he has not had recent contact with them, but was certain Daoud Mohammed was dead.
Government officials said yesterday they have not sought information on Daoud Mohammed but are pursuing with international agencies to ascertain the whereabouts of the women’s children-a total of about seven under age 12-and their welfare.