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Russian MP comments on tougher punishments for divulging of state secrets

September 21, 2012, 22:56 UTC+3
Friday, the Duma passed a bill that broadens the disposition of Article 275 of the Criminal Code /High Treason/ by specifying more component elements of the crime
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MOSCOW, September 21 (Itar-Tass) – A senior Russian MP has urged the public quarters to refrain from viewing the State Duma’s decision to tighten punishment for espionage and the divulgence of state secrecy as an instance of “drawing nuts up tight”

Friday, the Duma passed a bill that broadens the disposition of Article 275 of the Criminal Code /High Treason/ by specifying more component elements of the crime.

The expanded specification includes, among other things, financial, material, technological, consultative or other assistance to a foreign state, as well as to an international or foreign organization.

The bill also broadens the immediate object of the crime, adding the constitutional system territorial integrity and state sovereignty of the Russian Federation to external security of the state specified in the currently effective version of Article 275.

“The addition of more specifications signals, first and foremost, an opportunity for the state to give clear rules to society,” said Otari Arshba, a member of the committee for civil, criminal, and procedural legislation.

He believes that the effective version of the Criminal Code “envisions and creates a possibility of differing interpretations” while their new edition will rule out the very possibility of arbitrariness on the part of law enforcement agencies and will fence society off from legislative ambiguities.

“Criminal responsibility will be the case in hand only in a situation where a carrier of state secrets blows the gaff somewhere and an addressee purposefully pushes the information down the line,” Arshba said.

“The lawmakers give the law enforcers and ordinary citizens likewise a clear understanding as to where the zone of responsibility begins and where it ends and it doesn’t leave an opportunity for investigators to interpret the law along the motives known only to themselves and to no one else,” he said.

Arshba admitted that the bill still has some “unclear moments” and he called on the fellow-MPs and members of civic society to discuss its provisions in more detail prior to the next reading in the Duma.

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