Rules of Search, Arrest, and Detention
Despite the numerous protections of individual liberties
embodied in the Constitution and the Code of Criminal Procedure,
the government has succeeded in greatly expanding the
discretionary powers of the armed forces and police through a
variety of regulations and temporary provisions. The legal basis
for these provisions comes from the Constitution itself, which
sets conditions under which the government may act to restrict
fundamental rights. Article 15 states that freedom of speech,
assembly, and association may be subject to restrictions "in the
interests of racial and religious harmony." It also allows the
government, for reasons of national security, to suspend the
right of a suspect to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
In addition, Article 155 authorizes the Parliament and, in
certain circumstances, the president, to make emergency
regulations which override or amend existing legislation.
Under these special provisions, the government passed the
Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1979. The act empowered a
superintendent of police, or an officer at or above the rank of
subinspector authorized by the superintendent, to enter and
search any premises and to arrest without a warrant upon
reasonable suspicion of a crime. Although this act was originally
slated as a temporary provision to be in effect for three years,
the parliament voted in March 1982 to continue it indefinitely.
In addition, an amendment passed in 1983 extended the police
powers detailed in the act to members of the armed forces, and
provided legal immunity for arrests and deaths occurring in the
course of security operations.
The Code of Criminal Procedure allows the police to detain
suspects without a hearing for a maximum of twenty-four hours.
Under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, however, this period has
been extended to seventy-two hours, and if the subsequent hearing
leads to an indictment, the magistrate is required to order
continued detention until the conclusion of the trial. The act
further provides that the minister of internal security may, upon
reasonable suspicion, order a suspect to be detained for a period
of three months, extendable by three-month intervals up to a
total of eighteen months. These provisions have been supplemented
by the state of emergency regulations, first put into effect in
May 1983 and renewed on a monthly basis thereafter. Under these
regulations, police are given broad powers of preventive
detention. In addition, a suspect may be detained for up to
ninety days by order of the attorney general. At the end of this
period, the suspect must appear before a magistrate's court
which, with or without an indictment, is required by law to
remand the suspect to prison. Subsequent detention may continue
for an indefinite period of time.
Data as of October 1988