BUJUMBURA, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Burundi's National Assembly, lower chamber of the parliament, on Wednesday passed a bill that allows the police to search at any time without a search warrant.
Some opposition lawmakers however said the bill meant to restrict liberties of citizens.
"The new law is coming to fight terrorism and other crimes like rape or people keeping or owning arms illegally. It brings a lot of innovations like night-time searches and searches without necessarily warrants," Burundian Justice Minister Aimee Laurentine Kanyana told MPs when clarifying the bill at the parliament in the capital city Bujumbura.
Police agents will be allowed to carry out searches in a neighborhood or a village where suspects have been reported even at night because it has been noticed that Burundi is not saved from terror attacks like grenade explosions, said Kanyana.
The bill provides that police agents can carry out searches at any time even without a search warrant if they have informed the prosecutor through a phone call or a message, she said.
The search warrant should quickly follow the search operation in order to "give credibility" to the operation, she added.
Kanyana said the bill also provides the search of a computer of a suspect or social networks used by the suspect and allows police officers to secretly install cameras or recorders in a car or a house of suspects in order to identify and arrest them.
Some opposition MPs however voiced their concerns regarding what they described as the "restriction" of citizens' liberties. Night-time searches and searches without a prosecutor's warrant can be at the origin of insecurity, they said.
"A policemen can bring weapons and put them at a suspect's house. He will pretend that they are yours and arrest you," said Agathon Rwasa, second vice-speaker.
Ruling party MPs argued that night-time searches are operated without any problem in western countries like France, Belgium and the United states to prevent or fight terrorism and other criminal acts.
After being passed by the lower chamber, the bill will go to the Senate for approval.