Australian state to detain suspected teen terrorists for 36 hours without charges

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/11/20 9:09:31

Teenagers in the Australian state of Victoria arrested on suspicion of terrorist activity can be held for up to 36 hours without being charged under new laws announced on Monday.

The Victorian government released the second report into the state's counter-terrorism laws, compiled by former Chief Commissioner of Police Ken Lay, which made 26 recommendations for countering "violent extremism."

The recommendations included extending the Preventative Detention Order Scheme, which allows the detainment of minors for 36 hours because of fears of an imminent threat, will be expanded to include teenagers as young as 14. Previously the scheme applied to those aged 16 and older.

Adults can be detained for four days without being charged under the system.

Every recommendation made by Lay has been accepted by the government which will provide 7.1 million US dollars in funding to make the recommendations reality.

"These new measures give our law enforcement agencies the powers they need to help keep Victorians safe from terror and violent extremists," Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria, told reporters in Melbourne on Monday.

Lay said his report focused on combatting extremism from both the right and left-wing of the political spectrum.

"As we all understand, there's been a real focus on Islamic extremism in recent times, but the (review) panel saw a gap in the right and left-wing space," he said.

"To properly protect the community and understand the risks, research needs to be done in that space."

In addition to changing the preventative detention scheme, the report also recommended that the definition of a "terrorist act" be changed so as to remove motive as an essential element.

The Chief Commissioner of Police will also be able to apply for a court order that would make it compulsory for a person showing signs of radicalization to participate in disengagement programs.

"These new measures will help police intervene early and stop people exhibiting violent or extremist behavior from committing these terrible acts," Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville said.

The report was released as workers began to install permanent metal bollards in Melbourne as part of Central Business District (CBD) security upgrades.

The bollards will prevent attacks by motorists such as the January car attack where Dimitrious Gargasoulas allegedly drove through pedestrians in the pedestrian-only Bourke Street Mall, killing six people and injuring 36 others.

"Following January's Bourke Street tragedy we acted immediately to put in place security measures to protect our city and keep Victorians safe," Andrews said.

An alarm system which will provide people in the CBD of any ongoing threat will also be installed.

"While there is no way to completely eliminate risk, we are doing everything we can to keep pedestrians safe," Neville said.

"We have worked closely with Victoria Police and the City of Melbourne to ensure these permanent structures are as effective as they can be and where we need them most."

Posted in: ASIA-PACIFIC

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