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Kenya Court Throws Out Part of Anti-terrorism Law

A corrections officer looks on as inmates gather near housing units at Naivasha Maximum Prison in Kenya, October 2014. (Gabe Joselow/VOA)

Kenya's Constitutional Court threw out part of the country's new anti-terrorism law Monday, including restrictions on the media, but retained a provision permitting authorities to detain suspected terrorists for nearly a year without charging them with any offenses.

The court ruled that state restrictions on the media reporting on security operations limited the right of free expression and violated Kenya's constitution. The law would have permitted the government to punish media companies to be punished if they printed material "likely to cause fear or alarm."

The court also overturned a cap on the number of refugees allowed into Kenya.

The court, however, said that authorities could detain suspected terrorists for 360 days, rather than 90, without charging them.

The government said it might appeal the rulings that overturned parts of the law approved in a chaotic parliamentary session in December. Some lawmakers, who opposed the measure on grounds that it would violate the civil rights of Kenyans, threw books at the parliamentary speaker.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been under pressure to adopt tougher security measures after several Islamist terrorist attacks, including the assault at a Nairobi shopping mall in 2013 that killed 67 people.