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Tuesday, 19 February, 2002, 12:54 GMT
Terror law 'signed' in Mauritius
The interim president of Mauritius has signed into law controversial anti-terror legislation, according to the French news agency AFP.

The new measures, introduced after the 11 September attacks on the United States, had caused two presidents to resign in the space of three days.

Mauritius beach
Tourism is one of the island's main money earners
The opposition has also condemned the law which has twice been passed by parliament, led by Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth.

But Supreme Court Chief Justice Arianga Pillay - the third Mauritius president in five days - had no such qualms.

The law increases the period the police can hold suspects without charging them and denies alleged terrorists the right to legal representation.

The opposition says it also erodes the rights of suspects.

Politically stable

On Friday, President Cassam Uteem stepped down rather than approve the bill.

His successor, Angidi Chettiar, followed suit yesterday.

Under the constitution of Mauritius, the president - whose post is largely ceremonial - is obliged to either sign the bill into law or leave office.

On Monday evening, Mr Jugnauth moved to reassure those who were worried by the new measures.

"People have nothing to fear from the prevention of terrorism [act] which will only be applied against real terrorists," he said.

See also:

15 Feb 02 | Africa
Mauritius president resigns
10 Jan 02 | Business
China investment in Mauritius cotton
10 Sep 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Mauritius
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