New security laws drafted in Romania criticized for excessive powers given to secret services
The Romanian domestic and foreign intelligence services SRI and SIE will avoid any kind of accountability while being placed directly under the control of the President, according to analysts reviewing the set of ten draft laws currently under debate among the members of the ruling coalition.
This is "a proposal worthy of Zimbabwe" [where the chief of the intelligence services took over the power by a coup d'etat], and SRI and SIE "are officially placed above any law," argued Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, professor of democracy studies at Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and founder of non-governmental organizations Romanian Academic Society, Romaniacurata.ro reported.
According to the draft discussed by the members of the ruling coalition, the service staff will only be able to be investigated by a limited number of prosecutors. Searches at SRI headquarters may be carried out only with the authorization of the President, and the detention or search of SRI personnel may be carried out only with the consent of the SRI Director and the presence of a lawyer.
Of the package of ten national security laws already on the coalition table, three deserve special attention: the two draft laws on the organization and functioning of the Romanian Intelligence Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service and the draft law on intelligence and counterintelligence activity, G4media.ro reports in a column.
The three bills grant increased powers to the main secret services, the National Intelligence Service (SRI) and the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), give immunity only to officers of the two services and not to others and oblige citizens, companies, and authorities to cooperate with the services at their request and, perhaps most importantly, turn the services back into criminal investigation bodies through a slightly more sophisticated mechanism by expanding the list of threats to national security.
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