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South Sudan President Sends National Security Bill Back to Parliament

President Salva Kiir has sent the controversial national security bill back to lawmakers for further debate after a team of legal experts found irregularities in it.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir sent the national security bill back to parliament for further deliberation after legal experts found irregularities in it, presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said Friday.

"It is now upon the parliament to reintroduce the bill and start debating afresh... taking in the observations of the president,” Ateny said.

Mr. Kiir has been studying the bill with legal experts since he received it on November 21. Parliament passed the legislation about six weeks ago in a raucous session during which scores of lawmakers walked out in protest of passage of the bill.

National and international observers objected to the bill and called on Mr. Kiir not to sign it. Some critics of the bill say it gives the national security service excessive powers, including the right to arrest without a warrant anyone suspected of criminal activity.

Rights groups have said the bill violates international law. Others say it contravenes sections of South Sudan's transitional constitution.

Ateny said Mr. Kiir’s legal team found three sections in the draft law that they feel lawmakers need to reconsider. The president did not identify which parts of the bill the legal team had taken issue with.