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Kyrgyz Parliament Approves Counterterrorism Bill

The Kyrgyz parliament in session (file photo) (RFE/RL) BISHKEK, 7 September 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz lawmakers today approved a new bill that aims at strengthening the powers of the National Security Service (SNB) against terrorists.

Kyrgyz media say 49 of the 59 parliamentarians in attendance voted in favor of the draft, which envisages the creation of a national antiterrorism center under the direct supervision of the SNB.

Aziza Abdyrasulova, the chairwoman of the nongovernmental rights group Kylym Shamy (Torch Of The Century), called the law "very dangerous and disturbing."

Abdyrasulova told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that she is concerned the new law, if it is approved by President Kurmanbek Bakiev, will give the SNB extra powers.

She also said she was afraid the government might be tempted to use the new legislation to fight political dissent.

Security officials argue that the new law is urgently needed to help them stem the spread of armed Islamic militants, especially in the country's south.

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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