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Beyond Kasab guilty verdict, Mumbai attacks reshape Indian law

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Most countries passed or amended their laws after 9/11 to comply with a United Nations Security Council resolution that called on members to implement counterterrorism measures, criminalize terrorism, and share intelligence. Many of these new laws undermine human rights norms, the International Commission of Jurists said last year.

Both the United States and Britain, for instance, have since 2001 expanded the government’s powers of surveillance and preventative detention, broadened definitions of terrorism-related offences, and made sentences harsher. The US authorized military tribunals that curtail defendant rights. More recently, Russia passed a law allowing terrorism trials to proceed without a jury, says Kim Lane Scheppele, director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

“Few states have seen their constitutional sensibilities remain intact in the panic over terrorism,” Ms. Scheppele said by e-mail.

Rights vs. security

Though India's legal system enshrines due process and judicial review, some of its antiterror laws rank among the harshest for a constitutional democracy. It permits, for instance, one of the longest periods of pre-charge detention.

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