Guyana Passes Terrorism Law With Death Penalty Provision
GEORGETOWN – Guyana’s parliament has approved anti-terrorism legislation that includes the death penalty for certain offenses and would allow rendition of suspects to other countries.
Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan told skeptical opposition lawmakers during a debate that ended late Wednesday that the legislation is necessary to make sure the South American nation does not become a haven for terrorists. He says allowing rendition would prevent abuses of the extradition process.
The ruling party used its one-seat majority to pass the bills during the National Assembly’s final session for the year. All members of the opposition abstained. President David Granger is expected to sign the legislation into law.
“Draconian times require Draconian measures,” Ramjattan said during debate that stretched into the night.
Opposition lawmakers said that the provisions allowing the death penalty for terrorism offenses that resulted in death would violate human rights and they criticized the government of pushing through the legislation without submitting it to a committee for further review.
“This is a travesty,” said Gail Texeira, an opposition member of the parliament. “Government cannot state what is the urgency in passing these bills.”
Ramjattan brushed aside calls for removing the death penalty clauses, saying the option of capital punishment would “have that preventative, dissuasive effect” on potential offenders.