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Britain lists terrorism act groups

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Bin Laden's Al-Qaida group is one or 21 groups which could be banned  

LONDON, England -- A list of radical groups which could be banned under a tough new anti-terrorism law has been announced by Britain.

Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaida group and the Kurdistan Workers Party are among 21 groups which would be banned under the measures announced by British Home Secretary Jack Straw on Wednesday.

The new law broadens the definition of terrorism and makes it illegal to raise funds for the proscribed groups or even wear a T-shirt promoting the organisation.

Before the ban takes effect, the list -- contained in a draft order by Parliament -- must be debated and approved by the Commons and the House of Lords.

Britain's Terrorism 2000 Act came into force last week, replacing legislation aimed primarily at containing the 30-year conflict in Northern Ireland.

Under the new law, the definition of terrorism would include religious or ideologically motivated violence and acts, including disruption of power or computer systems.

It also forbids possessing information considered useful to terrorists, posting weapon-making instructions on the Internet and speaking at meetings of a banned group.

"I am entirely satisfied that the organisations named are concerned in terrorism," Straw said in his written statement to Parliament.

But critics say some of the provisions unfairly restrict freedom of speech.

Under the new measure, a suspected terrorist can be arrested without a warrant and detained for up to a week without charge.

Britain has long been criticised by many governments abroad for allowing London to serve as what they say is a haven for groups regarded in their homelands as terrorist organisations.

Up until now, Britain -- unlike the United States -- had not maintained a list of foreign organisations banned from operating in the country.

The groups proposed under the new law are: Al-Qaida; Egyptian Islamic Jihad; Al-Gama'at al-Islamiya (Egyptian militant group); Armed Islamic Group (Algerian guerrilla group); Salafist Group for Call and Combat (Algerian); Babbar Khalsa (seeking an independent Sikh homeland); International Sikh Youth Federation; Harakat Mujahideen (seeking independent Kashmir); Jaish-e-Mohammed (also Kashmiri); Lashkar-e-Taiba (Pakistan-based Kashmiri group); Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam; Hizbollah External Security Organisation; Hamas Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades; Palestinian Islamic Jihad; Abu Nidal Organisation; Islamic Army of Aden; Mujaheddin el-Khalq; Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK); Revolutionary Peoples' Liberation Party-Front (Turkey); Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, ETA (Spain); 17 November Revolutionary Organization (Greece).

Reuters contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
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RELATED SITES:
British Home Office
UK Parliament: Bills before Parliament
Human Rights Watch World Report: United Kingdom
Amnesty International
Liberty

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