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Duma begins to consider possible revoking of Communist MP’s immunity

July 06, 2012, 12:19 UTC+3
Prosecutor General asked the lower house of parliament to revoke the parliamentary immunity of Communist lawmaker Vladimir Bessonov
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MOSCOW, July 6 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian State Duma lower parliament house on Friday is considering a petition filed by Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika, who has asked the lower house of parliament to revoke the parliamentary immunity of Communist lawmaker Vladimir Bessonov so as to get an opportunity to institute a criminal case against him.

The State Duma received the petition on June 29. It was the second such request regarding Bessonov. On June 18, the Russian Investigations Committee sent a similar inquiry to the Duma speaker, Sergei Naryshkin. The documents however were returned to the Investigations Committee after a check revealed that such petitions can be submitted to the State Duma only by the prosecutor general.

After the second petitions, the State Duma Council set up a working group of six lawmakers (three from United Russia, three from the rest three factions, i.e. one from the Communist Party, one from A Just Russia, and one from the Liberal Democratic Party). The group made a trip to the Russian southern city of Rostov-on-Don to probe into the case.

According to Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the Russian Investigations 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. A pre-investigation check revealed that 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.

Bessonov however says the Investigations Committee’s claims are “absolutely groundless.”

Meanwhile, according to the prosecutor general’s petition, Bessonov refused to provide any explanation, while “the procedural check proved Bessonov’s actions had elements of offence” under article 318 of the Russian Criminal Code (use of force against the police). The offence carries a punishment of up to ten years in custody.

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