New Bill proposes 25-year jail term for enablers of terrorism

Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 00:00 |
Cyber crime.

People found to have published information designed to promote terrorism using electronic means face a Sh25 million fine and a jail term of 25 years if Members of Parliament enact the Computer Misuse and CyberCrimes Amendment Bill.

Proposed law would also mandate the government to ban websites containing pornographic materials.

Already, the Parliamentary Committee on Communication, Information and Innovation chaired by Marakwet East MP William Kisang has sanctioned proposals to limit the ban to only websites, contrary to earlier recommendations to outlaw all pornographic materials.

In its proposal, the committee says any move to limit all pornographic materials would contravene freedom of expression and access to information.

Kisang’s committee declined to delete the said provision in totality on grounds that even if the right to information could be legitimately interfered with, and if it is justifiable and compatible with international human rights law and standards, then it does not contravene the fundamental rights and freedoms of an individual.

Tougher measures

“The committee proposes amendments to Clause 2 of the Bill to clarify that this will be in relation to websites containing pornographic material,” the report. 

In the report tabled in the House, the committee also backed the Amendment Bill sponsored by Garissa Township MP Aden Duale, as it would enhance penalties for persons who recruit terrorists, pornography and religious cults.

Committee said it had agreed with the recommendations to have fines increased from Sh5 million to Sh25 million for individuals who publish messages designed to cause terror using electronic means.

Those found guilty will also face long jail terms after MPs enhanced penalties from 10 to 25 years.

Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, 2018, which the current Bill seeks to amend currently prescribes that those found guilty will face a Sh5 million fine or 10 years in jail, or both.

To determine the sites to be inaccessible, the committee has recommended a procedure and a criteria be applied, which will be used to make websites containing pornographic material unreachable.

 The committee, they proposed the enhanced tougher measures, as the functions assigned to the National Computer Cybercrimes committee of recommending websites to be rendered within the republic were not clear.

New paragraph

“Section 70 of the Principal Act is amended in subsection 2 by inserting the following new paragraph.

The procedure and criteria to be applied in recommending websites containing pornographic material be made inaccessible,” the report.

 It adds: “The justification is that the proposed amendment is related to the committee’s amendment to Clause 2 of the Bill.

The amendment seeks to provide in regulations the procedure and criteria to be applied in recommending websites containing pornographic material to be inaccessible.”

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