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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 October 2005, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
'Terror group' ban agreed by MPs
An armed police officer
The groups are to be banned under the Terrorism Act 2000
A ban on 15 international groups believed to be terrorist organisations has been approved by Parliament.

The decision means the ban will come into force on Friday, bringing the total number of banned groups to 40.

The groups have links in Iraq, Uzbekistan, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Morocco.

Concerns were raised by some MPs, who said evidence of the groups' activities should be revealed and argued decisions must be made on an individual basis.

'Allegiances'

The Home Office believes the selected groups are "concerned in terrorism".

Some 25 international organisations are already proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000, and a further 14 already banned in Northern Ireland.

Labour MPs John McDonnell and Alan Simpson, expressed their reservations when the ban was debated in the House of Commons on Thursday.

Mr Simpson said the groups were being banned because their allegiances had shifted from "pro-western terrorism to anti-western terrorism".

Both MPs said the government should make its evidence available on why it had banned the groups rather than putting through a "composite list".

Being a member of a proscribed organisation under the Terrorism Act 2000 can be punished by a 10-year prison term.

Glorifying terrorism

Among the new list of groups to be banned are Islamic organisations Ansar Al Islam, Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain, Al Ittihad Al Islamia and Ansar Al Sunna.

Speaking earlier this week in support of the ban, Home Secretary Charles Clarke said: "Recent events in London and elsewhere in the world have shown all too clearly that the threat posed by global terrorism has not gone away.

GROUPS TO BE BANNED:
Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain
Ansar Al-Islam
Al Ittihad Al Islamia
Islamic Jihad Union
Ansar Al Sunna
Hezb-e Islamia Gulbuddin
Harakat ul Muhajideen/Alami
Jundallah
Sipah-e Sahaba Pakistan
Lashkar-e Jhangvi
Khuddam u-Islam
Jamaat ul Furquan
Harakat ul Jihad ul Islami
Harakat ul Islami (Bangladesh)

"The attacks of 7 and 21 July have served as a stark reminder of the need to maintain a vigorous approach to dealing with terrorisms and their supporters.

"Proscription is an important power, and one not to be used lightly.

"The list of proscribed organisations is kept under constant review and, after careful consideration of all the relevant factors, I am satisfied that these groups should be added to it."

Mr Clarke said he was determined to act against groups that may not be involved in committing acts of terrorism, but still "provide succour or support for terrorist groups and their acts".

The Terrorism Bill, which is due to be published shortly, would amend the Terrorism Act 2000 to allow the proscription of organisations which glorify terrorism.

It would also cover proscribed organisations which change their names in an attempt to evade the law by continuing the ban to the renamed group.

The Liberal Democrats claimed there was not enough time given to debate the bans, but Commons leader pointed to what he called a proper opportunity during Thursday's sitting.


SEE ALSO:
Head-to-Head: Anti-terror plans
01 Mar 05 |  UK Politics
Viewpoints: Anti-terror proposals
28 Feb 05 |  UK Politics


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