The new Terrorism Control Act which became law at midnight last night introduces a new range of Terrorism Related Offences (TROs) and takes a surprisingly innovative approach to the punishment of those offences.
The Act defines TROs as the manufacture, purchase, sale, construction and/or possession of any material, equipment or weapons that might be useful to a terrorist. Also included as TROs are such acts as support, supply and/or defence of terrorists and terrorism and of anyone convicted of TROs, either before or after their conviction, in any situation. The lists are deliberately vague and open-ended so that more offences can be added later and they can be interpreted widely. TROs will, on conviction carry a new range of punishments, the main one of which will be humiliation, as well as a life-time prison term without parole. The Act also allows terrorists who are not available for trial due to their own acts of terrorism or for other reasons to be tried in absentia.
After conviction the prisoner will be taken to a public place near where the acts of terrorism with which he is associated were to have or did take place. There he will be put in the public stocks for a period defined for his TRO by the Act. Members of the public will be allowed to humiliate him by casting a variety of materials and abuse at him. Official observers will be present to advise the public on the best materials and terms of abuse to use for the most humiliation and to encourage public participation. Appropriate materials and lists of abuses will be provided free.
Terrorists convicted in absentia will be represented in the stocks by an effigy. The effigy will then serve a life imprisonment, as proclaimed in the Act.
Adjacent to the stocks will be a notice bearing the name and other information about the prisoner, including his ethnic, religious, social and educational background. The notice will be read aloud hourly, or as requested by the public, by the Town Crier or other relevant official. This will help members of the public who are vision impaired or educationally challenged to take part and get the most benefit from humiliating the prisoner.
After his allocated time in the stocks the prisoner will be taken to jail where he will serve a life imprisonment without parole. Bad behaviour or attitude will be punished by a return to the stocks. While in jail he will be made to wear bright pink clothing made of materials offensive to him, and the other prisoners will be encouraged to verbally abuse and practice petty crimes against him. Prisoners in any jails where those convicted of TROs will be incarcerated have been given lists of suitable petty crimes and abuses.
A spokesperson for the Government said "We are taking this new approach seriously since it is plain that prison and capital punishment are not deterrents to terrorists. Instead we will be taking a psychological warfare approach to the problem."
Police and security forces are expected to be pleased at the new range of TROs and their wide new powers to deal with terrorism. The Commissioner of Police said "We are pleased at the new range of TROs and our wide new powers to deal with terrorism."
The government spokesperson further explained "The Act has been made retrospective so that it can be applied to those terrorists already in jail. The additional penalties will be applied to them as soon as possible. Although the Act refers to 'he' and 'him' it should be understood to also include women. It would be a TRO under the Act for us to discriminate." he added.
Civil Rights Activists and defence lawyers are up in arms over the new legislation. The Government spokesperson said "The new Act explicitly states that persons demonstrating against the treatment of felons convicted of TROs or defending them in any way, either before or after conviction, in court or elsewhere, will themselves be guilty of TROs and will be thus charged."
The spokesperson added that if people are going to break the law they must expect to be punished. He said that lawyers, as officers of the court, should obey the new laws and set an example for the community, by not defending terrorists. If they do, they will, of course, be charged under the new Act, since defending a terrorist is a TRO.