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Australian lawyers group slams state anti-terrorism powers

[JURIST] The president of Australia's Law Council [official website], the official voice of lawyers throughout Australia, criticized wide-ranging anti-terrorism powers granted to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation [government website] in testimony Monday before an Australian parliamentary committee. The ASIO has the power to detain individuals for up to a week without having to file a criminal charge and can question individuals for periods as long as 24 consecutive hours. Council head John North [official profile] warned that the powers given to the ASIO are too extreme and represent a breach of necessary civil and human rights traditionally respected in Australia. He urged that if the Australian Parliament [government website] found it necessary to keep the anti-terrorism legislation in place, that the powers be given to the Australian Crime Commission [government website] instead and that the procedures follow already-established guidelines for criminal detentions. Read the official Law Council press release. Australia's Daily Telegraph has local coverage.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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