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New Iraqi Law Gives Allawi Broad Martial Powers

Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi signs into law a measure that gives him broad powers of martial rule to fight the ongoing insurgency. Under the law's provisions, Allawi can declare emergency rule and impose curfews in any part of the country threatened by instability. Hear NPR's Renee Montagne and NPR's Philip Reeves.

Iraqi Human Rights Minister Bakhityar Amin told reporters the measures could be applied wherever there is a major threat to national institutions, national security or where there were wide-ranging disturbances.

The deteriorating security situation -- including continuing attacks on the government, security forces and foreign contract workers -- made the new laws necessary, Justice Minister Malik Dohan al-Hassan said.

The government acknowledged that some individual liberties will be restricted, but officials stressed that the measures will be monitored by human rights organizations, the Iraqi justice ministry and the federal courts.

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Philip Reeves is an award-winning international correspondent covering South America. Previously, he served as NPR's correspondent covering Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India.
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