New Zealand passed a new security law on Thursday that makes planning a terror attack illegal, closing a loophole uncovered by a man who went on to carry out a mass stabbing in the country’s most populous city.
New Zealand has been working to enhance its security legislation for months in response to increased worries of lone wolf terror attacks, but the new bill was rushed through parliament after Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen stabbed and injured seven people in an Auckland supermarket earlier this month.
To plot and organize a terror attack is now a crime, according to Kris Faafoi, New Zealand’s Minister of Justice, bringing security laws in line with most other countries.
“The nature of terrorism has changed. Across the world there are more lone actors, rather than larger organized groups,” Faafoi said in an emailed statement.
The new law comes less than a month after police shot dead Samsudeen, a 32-year-old Sri Lankan national, moments after he launched his attack.
Samsudeen had been convicted and imprisoned for about three years before being released in July.
New Zealand had in 2020 unsuccessfully sought to charge Samsudeen with terrorism offences after he bought a hunting knife and was found with Islamic State videos.
However, a judge ruled Samsudeen did not convene New Zealand’s terror laws at the time. He was released, though he was placed under 24-hour police surveillance.