MOSCOW, February 11, 23:06 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian courts ever more often pass sentences of the deprivation of freedom rather than appoint fines for bribe-taking, Vyacheslav Lebedev, chairman of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, told a conference of chairmen of republican, territorial and regional courts.
He noted that the punishment for small bribes for persons without previous conviction could so far amount only to fines equal to the sum of the bribe. Meanwhile, he recalled that this applied to 95 percent of those accused of bribe-taking and to 97 percent of those accused of giving bribes.
But the fines for bribes were voluntarily paid by only ten percent of those fined, Lebedev said. Because of this, bailiffs petitioned for replacing fines with sentences of the deprivation of freedom, which can only be passed for persistent non-payment of fines.
As the courts had earlier had varying definitions of persistent non-payment of fines, the December 3, 2013 plenary meeting of the Supreme Court gave the definition of persistent non-payment of a fine as not making the payment within 30 days of the sentence coming into effect. The chairman of the Supreme Court pointed out the plenary meeting’s explanatory note also specified that the lack of money for paying the fine was not a legitimate excuse for not paying it.
As a result, the number of satisfied petitions for replacing fines with terms of the deprivation of freedom increased from 21 to 40.5 percent.