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Pakistan: Punjab Province Criminalizes the Glorification of Terrorism

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(Jan 23, 2015) On January 20, 2015, Pakistan's Punjab provincial government promulgated an amendment to a maintenance of public order ordinance that criminalizes expressions of support, sympathy, and glorification of terrorism. (Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, No. 31 of 1960, amended by Punjab Maintenance of Public Order (Amendment) Ordinance 2015 (Amended Ordinance), PUNJAB LAWS.) The amending ordinance appears to address speeches or views expressed in the media or any public forum which glorify or sympathize with terrorist organizations. (Intikhab Hanif, Punjab Bans Glorification of Terrorists, DAWN.COM (Jan. 21, 2014).)

Section 6-A, which was inserted by this amendment to regulate speeches, stipulates that "[a] person shall not, by words spoken or written, or through visible representation, directly or by implication":

(a) support, propagate or promote,

(b) evoke or attempt to evoke sympathy or compassion for,

(c) project, commend or glorify,

(d) challenge, thwart, undermine or oppose any action of any law enforcement agency against, or

(e) jeopardize any ongoing security operation against any terrorist, act of terrorism, terrorist organization, or proscribed organization. (Amended Ordinance, § 6-A (1).)
A person who contravenes the new section is punishable with imprisonment for up to three years and a fine. (Id. § 6-A(2).) Another section was inserted to authorize the head of a local area police station to direct an organizer of a public meeting or gathering to submit audio or video recordings of all speeches made at the public meeting. (Id. § 8-A.) Failure to do so could result in up to six months of imprisonment and a fine. (Id. § 8-A(3).)

Author: Tariq Ahmad More by this author
Topic: Freedom of speech More on this topic
 Terrorism More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Pakistan More about this jurisdiction

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Sri Lanka: Constitutional Amendment to Be Implemented

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(Jan 23, 2015) Sri Lanka's Prime Minister, Ranil Wickramasinghe, stated on January 21, 2015, that the country will implement the 13th amendment of its Constitution. The amendment has been long pending, and the Tamil National Alliance, a political party of the Tamil people, a minority located largely in the Northern Province, has demanded that it be implemented. (Will Implement 13th Amendment Within a Unitary State: Ranil, COLOMBO PAGE (Jan. 21, 2015).)

The 13th amendment, originally certified on November 14, 1987, states that Tamil will be one of Sri Lanka's official languages and that provincial councils, with substantial authority, will be established throughout the country. It also said, however, that these councils would be established at various times, as determined by the President. (Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution (1987), SOUTH ASIA TERRORISM PORTAL; Introduction to the Web Version of the Constitution [with links to text as amended through Dec. 20, 2000], PRESINFORM [official website of the Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka].)

In addition to this announcement that the amendment would be implemented, Sri Lanka's President, Maithripala Sirisena, replaced the military officer who was the Governor of the Northern Province with a civilian. This was seen as a gesture of good will to the Tamil community. (Will Implement 13th Amendment Within a Unitary State: Ranil, supra.) The move, together with the plan to implement the 13th amendment, was also welcomed by political leaders in Tamil Nadu, the Indian state closest to Sri Lanka. (Tamil Nadu Parties Welcome Sri Lanka's Announcement on 13th Amendment, ECONOMIC TIMES (Jan. 21, 2015).)

Author: Constance Johnson More by this author
Topic: Constitution More on this topic
 Racial and ethnic relations More on this topic
 State and local government More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Sri Lanka More about this jurisdiction

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Japan: Act on Protection of Specially Designated Secrets

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(Jan 23, 2015) The Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets (SDS Act) that was promulgated on December 13, 2013, became effective on December 10, 2014. (Act No. 108 of 2013, Japanese Ministry of Justice online database (in English).) Under the Act, the head of an administrative organ designates secrets that satisfy the following requirements as SDSs. Those that:

  • have information on the matters set forth in a table appended to the Act divided into four groups: defense, diplomacy, prevention of specified harmful activities, and prevention of terrorist activities;
  • have not been disclosed to the public; and
  • if disclosed without authorization, risk causing severe damage to Japan's national security and that therefore must be kept secret. (Id. art. 3, ¶ 1; Cabinet Secretariat Preparatory Office for Enforcement of the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets, Overview of the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets, Cabinet Secretariat website (last visited Jan. 20, 2015).)
Effective Period of Designation as an SDS

The head of an administrative organ may also specify the effective period of such a designation, not exceeding five years. The period is renewable for up to a total of 30 years. If it is necessary to ensure the safety of Japan and its people, the head of the administrative organ may keep extending the period for another 30 years, with the approval of the Cabinet. The period of designation as an SDS can be extended further upon approval of the Cabinet if the information concerns cryptology, human intelligence sources, or other matters as specified in the Act or in a Cabinet order. The head of an administrative organ must terminate the designation before the expiration of the effective period if the information no longer meets the designation requirements. (SDS Act, art. 4.)

Record-Keeping

The head of an administrative organ must make and keep records of the SDS designations and mark the documents or electric recordings of SDSs. (Id. art. 3, ¶ 2.) The head also must determine the scope of officials who handle SDSs, from among those who have passed a security clearance. (Id. art. 5, ¶ 1.)

Provision of SDSs to Other Agencies or Contractors

Provision of copies of SDSs is limited to specified cases under the Act. When it is necessary for Japan's national security, the head of an administrative organ that keeps the SDS may provide it to other administrative organs. (Id. art. 6.) The head of an administrative organ may also provide an SDS to an eligible contractor. The types of SDSs that can be provided to eligible contractors are, however, limited and specified in a list attached to the SDS Act. The contract between the administrative organ and the contractor involved must have provisions on the scope of the contractor's employees permitted to handle SDSs and other necessary measures to protect the SDS. (Id. art. 8.) In these two cases, the administrative organ that receives SDS and the eligible contractor must take necessary measures to protect SDSs and assign SDSs only to officials or employees who are authorized to handle them and have passed security clearances. (Id. arts. 6, 8, & 11.)

An administrative organ is also allowed to provide SDSs to foreign governments or international organizations when they take necessary measures to ensure the protection of the SDSs. (Id. art. 9.) There are several other instances in which the provision of an SDS is allowed under the SDS Act.

Standards

The Act requires the government to formulate standards to ensure uniform implementation in connection with the designation and termination of SDSs and the security clearance process. (Id. art. 18, ¶ 1.) The Cabinet issued the necessary standards on October 14, 2014. (Tokutei himitsu no shitei oyobi sono kaijo narabini tekisei hyoka no jisshi ni kanshi toitsuteki na unyo o hakaru tame no kijun [Standards on Designation, Termination and Proper Evaluation of SDSs to Ensure Uniform Implementation], Cabinet Decision (Oct. 14, 2014), Cabinet Secretariat website.)

The Council for Protection of Information, comprised of non-governmental experts, was consulted when the Cabinet formulated the implementation standards and makes an annual report on the implementation of SDSs to the Prime Minister. (SDS Act, art. 18, ¶¶ 2 & 3.) The Cabinet Committee for Protection and Oversight of SDSs within the Cabinet oversees the designation and termination of SDSs and supervises administrative branches in accordance with the implementation standards. (Id. art. 18, ¶ 4.) Within the Cabinet Office, a position entitled the Independent Public Records Management Secretary was created. The Secretary verifies and oversees the appropriateness of designations of SDSs. (Id. Supp. Provisions, art. 9.) A public prosecutor was appointed as the first Secretary. (Mr. Takafumi Sato for the Independent Public Records Management Secretary = Public Prosecutor, Who Supervises Administration of the SDS Act, JIJI PRESS (Dec. 10, 2014) (in Japanese).)

Penalty Provisions

Violators of the Act face upon conviction a penalty of a maximum of ten years of imprisonment. If a person who is engaged in handling an SDS discloses, without authorization, that SDS which he/she has come to know in the course of performing the duty, he or she is punished with a term of imprisonment of not more than ten years and a fine of not more than ten million yen (about US$100,000). (Id. art. 23.) The same penalty applies to anyone who acquires an SDS by an act of deceit, assault, or intimidation; by theft or destruction of property; by trespassing on a facility; through interception of wire telecommunications; by unauthorized computer access; or by any other act that violates the control of a person who holds an SDS, for the purpose of using that secret to promote the interest of a foreign country, for illicit personal gain, or to cause harm to Japan's safety or to the lives or persons of its citizens. (Id. art. 24.)

Author: Sayuri Umeda More by this author
Topic: Documents More on this topic
 National security More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Japan More about this jurisdiction

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Tajikistan: Human Rights Lawyer Sentenced

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(Jan 15, 2015) On January 13, 2015, prominent human rights lawyer Sukhrat Kudratov was sentenced to nine years in prison in Tajikistan. The conviction was for bribery and fraud. Human rights advocates considered it to be a warning against criticism of the country's government. (Addison Morris, Human Rights Lawyer Jailed in Tajikistan, PAPER CHASE (Jan. 13, 2015).) Kudratov is the Deputy Director of the Social-Democratic Party, an opposition group in Tajikistan, and he is the attorney for the independent news agency Asia-Plus. (Tajikistan – Pre-Trial Detention of Human Rights Lawyer Mr Shukhrat [sic] Kudratov, FRONTLINE DEFENDERS (July 25, 2014).)

Kudratov was known for the 2013 defense of Zaid Saidov, an opposition leader and former official who had been arrested after starting a new political party, the New Tajikistan Party. Saidov was sentenced in December 2013 to 26 years in prison on a variety of charges, including polygamy. (Morris, supra; Tajikistan: Long Sentence a Blow to Free Expression, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (Feb. 7, 2014).) A second attorney for Saidov, Fakhriddin Zokirov, had been arrested and charged with forgery, but was released, following eight months of detention, on November 3, 2014. That lawyer reportedly agreed not to continue defending Saidov. (David Trilling, Tajikistan Jails Prominent Human Rights Lawyer, EURASIANET (Jan. 13, 2015); Mavzuna Abdulloeva, Lawyer Fakhriddin Zokirov After Release Does Not Protect Zaid Saidov, ASIA-PLUS (Dec. 18, 2014) (in Russian).)

NGO Views of Kudratov

Commenting on the case against Kudratov, Steve Swerdlow of Human Rights Watch called it "a serious setback for the freedom of expression and the independent legal profession in Tajikistan." (Trilling, supra.) That sentiment was also expressed following Kudratov's arrest last July, by the organization Frontline Defenders, which stated that he "is one of few lawyers in Tajikistan who defends opposition activists, victims of police torture, and those accused of 'religious extremism.'" (Tajikistan – Pre-Trial Detention of Human Rights Lawyer Mr Shukhrat Kudratov, supra.) Kudratov had been named human rights defender of the year for 2011 by the Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, based in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. (Trilling, supra.)

Author: Constance Johnson More by this author
Topic: Elections and politics More on this topic
 Human rights More on this topic
 Lawyers and legal services More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Tajikistan More about this jurisdiction

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Indonesia: Bali to Protect Traditional Textiles

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(Jan 14, 2015) Indonesia's province of Bali is planning a new bylaw, to be passed within the year, on the protection of the intellectual property involved in the creation of local traditional textiles. The purpose is to preserve the fabric techniques and enhance production and quality, to better suit the market. (Wasti Atmodjo, Bali Prepared Bylaw for Traditional Cloth Protection, JAKARTA POST (Jan. 7, 2015).)

According to Ni Wayan Kusumawathi, head of the Bali Industrial Trade Office, that office and Udayana University are drafting the bylaw. Before the draft is completed, a survey of traditional Balinese cloths will be undertaken. Kusumawathi noted that "[t]he results will be documented; they include mapping of traditional cloth-weaving industrial centers and the distinction between motifs in each regency or city. This is the basis for formulating the regulation." (Id.)

Kusumawathi also stressed that intellectual property protection is part of the approach that will be taken, but that other aspects will be included. The traditional textile methods of Bali were at one point nearly extinct, with only elderly crafts people still using them. This situation was due in part to the fact that the fabrics were used only in special situations. In addition to a bylaw, there will be a gubernatorial decree encouraging wider use of the textiles, particularly in government, educational, and financial offices, as well as in hotels in Bali. (Id.)

The textiles in question include endek and songket. Endek is made through a lengthy process on hand looms, with the weft tied in preset patterns and dyed before weaving. Songket is a brocaded fabric using gold or silver threads on a plain, colored background. Both were traditionally worn for religious and other formal occasions. (Endek and Songket Weaving, Sidemen Tour and Trekking website (last visited Jan. 13, 2015).)

The proposed bylaw seems like a good measure to I. Wayan Sukerta, of the Winangun Asri weaving group located on a small island off the coast of Bali. He stated that crafts workers need help to improve and market their products. (Atmodjo, supra.)

Bali's governor proposed a general bylaw on cultural heritage earlier this year. (Constance Johnson, Indonesia: Bylaw on Cultural Heritage of Bali Proposed, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (June 13, 2014).) It was adopted as provincial regulation number 4 of 2014. (Gubernur Bali Peraturan Daerah Provinsi Bali Nomor 4 Tahun 2014 Tentang Pelestarian Warisan Budaya Bali [Provincial Regulation of the Governor of Bali on Preserving the Cultural Heritage of Bali, No. 4, 2014], on file with author.)

Author: Constance Johnson More by this author
Topic: Arts and culture More on this topic
 Cultural heritage More on this topic
 Intellectual property More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Indonesia More about this jurisdiction

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