MOSCOW, December 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Deputies of the United Russia faction have submitted a package of amendments to the presidential bill on amnesty on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution which was passed by the State Duma at first reading on Tuesday.
The proposed amendments to the bill apply to protesters, who took part in rallies held in Bolotnaya square, and also to the Greenpeace activists convicted in Russia.
Leader of the United Russia Sergei Mironov explained that an appeal lodged by a group of relatives and human rights organizations concerned over the fate of the protesters in mass riots in Kopeisk, was behind the package of the amendments suggested by the Just Russia deputies.The Kopeisk prison administration which went out of control had driven prison inmates to despair and prompted them to make unprecedented acts with the aim to draw public attention to what was going on in the colony, Mironov said. Law enforcers had promised then that the organizers of the protest acts would not be given additional punishment by having their prison terms lengthened, but they did not keep their promise, Mironov said.
The Just Russia deputies have also suggested granting amnesty to first time offenders imprisoned for a term of under three years, people suffering from severe diseases which are included in a governmental list of maladies entailing release for health reasons.
But, amnesty should not apply to people convicted for abuse of office and violence and tortures used against citizens, the Just Russia deputy said.
Member of the Just Russia faction Dmitry Gudkov is the author of the suggested amendments. When the presidential bill was first discussed Gudkov warned his fellow colleagues that under the proposed bill criminals convicted for abuse of office and embezzlement and responsible for use of force and violence might be amnestied. The amnesty might also apply to several former policemen from the notorious Dalny police precinct in Kazan who were convicted for using violence against a citizen whom they had tortured to death, but despite that were sentenced to a five-year prison term only.
The amnesty bill will come up for second reading at the Lower House on December 18.