MOSCOW, December 17. /ITAR-TASS/. The State Duma lower house of Russia’s parliament on Tuesday passed in the first reading the president-sponsored bill on amnesty in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution. The document was unanimously supported by 442 MPs in a preferential voting.
“The categories entitled to amnesty include the people who committed crimes when they were under age, women with underage children, pregnant women, women older than 55 and men older than 60, severely disabled persons, as well as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster liquidators, military servicemen, law enforcement staff, penitentiary system staff and persons who took part in combat actions for the protection of the Fatherland,” says an explanatory note.Amnesty will be granted only to those sentenced to five years imprisonment inclusive and who had not served time before. Exception is made only for underage convicts who committed crimes when they were younger than 16 or those who have served at least half of the term.
The document says that “criminal proceedings shall be terminated against the suspects and charged persons (the above categories, except those suspected and accused of crimes under Articles 212 and 213, parts 2 and 3 of the Criminal Code), the files of which are examined by the bodies of inquiry and preliminary investigation and courts.”
However, amnesty is not to be granted to the persons who committed grave violent crimes of crimes under the threat of violence.
It is planned to complete the implementation of the State Duma resolution “On Amnesty Declaration” within six months from the day of its coming into effect.
The lower house has simultaneously turned down nine alternative draft resolutions, previously submitted by the Duma members.
The second reading of the amnesty document will be held on Wednesday, December 18. Amendments to the draft resolution will be discussed by the house relevant committee on civil, criminal, arbitral and procedural legislation also on Wednesday, ahead of a plenary meeting.
The declaration of amnesty is the exclusive competence of the State Duma. Amnesty comes into legal force after its official publication - this should happen, according to the Duma committee, by the end of this week.
The current amnesty is the 18th in succession and second “constitutional.” Nearly 20 years ago, on February 23, 1993, the first State Duma started its work with the declaration of amnesty in honor of the adoption of a new Russia's Constitution of 1993 and with the aim of achieving “national conciliation, civil peace and accord.” As many as 23,000 prisoners were released then - members of the State Committee of the State of Emergency (GKChP) and persons convicted of a number of economic crimes under the then RSFSR Criminal Code.