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Russian MPs to consider amnesty bill in final reading

December 18, 2013, 10:29 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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
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© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

MOSCOW, December 18. /ITAR-TASS/. The State Duma lower house of Russia’s parliament on Wednesday will consider in the second and final reading the president-sponsored draft resolution on amnesty marking the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution.


Who comes under amnesty

According to the concept, adopted by the lower house on Tuesday, amnesty should be granted to some 25,000 convicts. The most socially unprotected prisoners suspected or accused of crimes, as well as persons with state decorations will be eligible.

“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.


What exactly will be done


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.”

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 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.


Who is not eligible

However, amnesty is not to be granted to the persons who committed grave violent crimes of crimes under the threat of violence, as well convicts who grossly violate the established order while serving their term.

More than 30 amendments have already been introduced to the draft resolution, head of the lower house relevant committee on civil, criminal, arbitral and procedural legislation Pavel Krasheninnikov said. They include proposals to deny amnesty to terrorists, pedophiles, as well as persons who committed crimes in public office with violence and torture against citizens. Simultaneously it is proposed to extend amnesty to the excluded Criminal Code Articles 212 and 213, in order to ensure equality of the rights of the convicts and suspects. It is under these articles that a number of suspects in the Bolotnaya Square case of mass riots are charged, as well as Greenpeace activists. There is also an amendment to exclude from the draft resolution the clause of gross violation of the order during the prison term.


History of constitutional amnesty in Russia

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 Russian 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 and persons convicted of a number of economic crimes under the then RSFSR Criminal Code.

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