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RF State Duma requested to strip Communist lawmaker off immunity

June 19, 2012, 16:39 UTC+3

In line with the regulations, the State Duma has a week to consider the Investigations Committee’s request

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MOSCOW, June 19 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian State Duma lower parliament house on Tuesday received a request from the Russian Investigations Committee to sanction a probe against Communist lawmaker Vladimir Bessonov on charges of using force against police officers during an unauthorized rally in Rostov-on-Don on December 2, 2011, a source in the lower parliament house told Itar-Tass.

In line with the regulations, the State Duma has a week to consider the Investigations Committee’s request.

The Investigations Committee asks the State Duma to give a consent to open a criminal case against Bessonov, in other words, to strip him of his immunity.

According to Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the Committee, police officers filed a motion with the Investigations Committee’s Rostov region administration against Bessonov to hold him responsible for incurring bodily injuries during the unauthorized rally.

According to the results of a pre-investigation check, on December 2, 2011, Bessonov organized an unsanctioned rally in a square in front of the residence of the Russian president’s plenipotentiary envoy in the Southern federal district in Rostov-on-Don. More than 100 people took part in the rally.

After the organizers refused to stop the action, the police tried to switch off the loudspeaker equipment. “Bessonov and some other unidentified protesters delivered blows on police officers and tore their uniforms,” Markin said.

Meanwhile, Ivan Melnikov, the first deputy secretary of the Communist Party’s central committee and a deputy speaker of the State Duma, said that the Investigations Committee’s motion was politically-motivated. “It looks like somebody is itching to teach the Communist Party a lesson for its negative reaction to the police reform and the new law on mass actions,” he told Itar-Tass.

In his words, it looks rather strange that the Investigations Committee has raised the issue now, some six months after the Rostov-on-Don rally. He pledged that the Communist faction would spare no effort to support their colleague. “As concerns the discussion at the Duma, I have a strong feeling that support to the Communist Party will come not only from the A Just Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party’s factions, but also from United Russia, if they weigh all pros and contras,” Melnikov said. “If they don’t, the United Russia faction will support the Investigations Committee. But still I hope for the former option.”

Another deputy speaker of the Duma and the head of the United Russia faction, Andrei Vorobyov on Tuesday said that Russian laws and the Constitution provide for the procedures of depriving a lawmaker of his or her immunity to open a criminal case against him or her. “Party identification does not matter. All are equal before the law,” he said. “In case law enforcers send such a request, their evidence should be perfectly grounded.”

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