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Russia’s upper house cracks down on hoax bomb calls

December 26, 2017, 12:07 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia’s Federation Council endorsed a law on increasing the maximum jail terms for "telephone terrorists" from five to ten years.

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, December 26. /TASS/. Russia’s Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, on Tuesday endorsed a law on increasing the maximum jail terms for "telephone terrorists" from five to ten years.

The amendments will be introduced for Article 207 of the Russian Criminal Code ("False report about an act of terrorism").

Any hoax calls on alleged preparations for an explosion, arson or other dangerous actions that may result in deaths or significant damage to social infrastructure will be punishable by up to five years in jail, according to the proposed amendments.

Social infrastructure facilities include medical and educational organizations, kindergartens, entertainment organizations, public transport, sports facilities and financial organizations. Significant damage refers to more than one million rubles ($17,400).

If "telephone terrorists" act with the goal of "destabilizing the activity of state bodies" they will face between six and eight years in prison. In case this act results in the death or severe consequences, these persons will face punishment between eight and ten years in prison. Currently, the maximum sentence under Article 207 is five years in jail.

Since September 11, a wave of phone calls has swept across Russian cities and towns. Emergency services have combed through secondary and higher schools, shopping malls, airports, railway stations, hotels and governmental buildings. Only in Moscow, evacuations were carried out at more than 30 facilities, and a total of 450,000 people were evacuated across Russia on September 11-25 and about 1,000 phone threats made by anonymous telephone callers were registered.

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