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Sudanese Parliament Passes Controversial Security Bill

VOA News 20 December 2009

Sudan's parliament has approved a controversial new security bill curbing the powers of the country's intelligence agencies, despite protests from opposition groups that the measure does not go far enough.

The new bill reduces the amount of time the National Security Service (NSS) can detain suspects, but affirms existing powers of arrest, search and seizure.

Lawmakers from southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) voted against the bill, saying only police should have the power to arrest individuals. Other opposition parties walked out of the vote in protest.

Activists and rights groups have long accused Sudan's National Security Service of carrying out torture and killings during the country's north-south civil war.

The security reform is part of a series of law reforms being decided as part of a 2011 referendum on southern independence.

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