MOSCOW, May 31 (Itar-Tass) ——The Russian president’s Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights is ready to continue the work on the draft law that imposes harsher penalties for violations during public rallies, Council Chairman Mikhail Fedotov told Itar-Tass.
“We have made the arrangement that the text of the draft law, which is being prepared for the second reading, will be given to use in advance so that we could make up our mind and attitude toward it. We are not going to stop working on the daft law,” Fedotov said.
“The fact that it is being prepared for the second reading despite our suggestion to hold public hearings does not discourage me,” he added.
Fedotov is “discouraged by the fact that amendments increasing the fine to 300,000 roubles dilute the border between a criminal offence and an administrative one, which we pointed out [in our letter to the State Duma[,” he said.
In the letter to the chairman of the State Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Development, Vladimir Pligin, the Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights proposed several amendments to the draft law.
The Council suggested punishing government officials for obstructing organisation or conduct of a rally, assembly, demonstration, march or picket, including “by unjustifiably compelling the organisers of a public event to change the venue, time or other terms”.
The Council believes that “any public event organised in a public place that is not intended for traffic does not require any notice to the executive authorities”.
“Such events can be organised freely on condition that their participants do not step onto the roadway and do not block pedestrian traffic,” the letter said.
The Council also spoke against raising fines for violations during rallies and objected to the use of the term “organising mass and simultaneous presence of people in public places that has the signs of a public event” and described it as “artificial and endangering the constitutional right of people to peaceful and unarmed assembly “.
Russia’s human rights council to continue work on draft law on rallies.
Meanwhile, the relevant Duma committee recommended that the main amendments to the initial version of draft law be adopted. They impose differing fines for violations during rallies: 10,000 to 300,000 for individuals, up to 600,000 roubles for officials and up to 1 million roubles for legal entities. The version passed in the first reading set the fine at 1.5 million roubles for officials.
Pligin said the updated version of the draft law solves the key task of “guaranteeing life sane safety of all participants in mass events without exception”.
The final version of the draft law for the second reading will be approved by the committee at its meeting on Friday, June 1, where it plans to “work out” the last formalities. The committee recommended adopting 20 amendments and rejecting 357.