Saudi Arabia plays down concerns over anti-terror draft law

Saudi Arabia plays down concerns over anti-terror draft law

Saudi Arabia said Saturday that concerns voiced by the rights group Amnesty International regarding a draft anti-terrorism law in the kingdom were "baseless and mere suppositions", dpa reported.

"Amnesty International did not bother to contact the Saudi embassy in London to get clarification or comment," said the embassy in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The London-based organization on Friday criticized the draft law saying it would allow the authorities to prosecute peaceful dissenters for terrorist crimes.

"This draft law poses a serious threat to freedom of expression in the kingdom in the name of preventing terrorism," said Philip Luther, the organization's Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director.

"If passed, it would pave the way for even the smallest acts of peaceful dissent to be branded terrorism and risk massive human rights violations," he added.

According to the embassy's statement, the draft law was aimed at helping Saudi security forces combat terrorism.

It added that regional turbulences had provided "a fertile ground for new threats."

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