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MOSCOW, March 26. /TASS/. Members of A Just Russia Party said on Wednesday they found a query for revoking the parliamentary immunity of State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomaryov, which had been filed earlier on the same day by the Prosecutor General’s Office, to be only logical in the context of the anti-Russian statements the man had been making.
"We strongly condemn his latest actions and especially the calls for an overthrow of state power in Russia that he made in the US and that’s why what’s happening now looks quite logical," Mikhail Yemelyanov, First Deputy Chairman of the party caucus in the Duma said.
He believes party members in the Duma may support the prosecutors’ request to strip Ponomaryov of the parliamentary immunity.
"I personally think we should support this decision," Yemelyanov said, admitting however that the caucus had not taken any consolidated decisions yet. "Our parliamentary caucus has long bidden good-bye to Ponomaryov. He was expelled from the party and the caucus — expelled de facto because we can’t do it under law."
"We assess his activity highly negatively because you can like or dislike the government but you can’t stand in an opposition to your own country," Yemelyanov said.
As for the legal part, the last word in that aspect belongs to the court and hence the party is now expected to let the agencies of law and order to do their work properly, he said
"From the political angle of view, we denounce his position of its anti-patriotism and anti-Russian character," Yemelyanov said.
As TASS reported earlier, the Prosecutor General’s Office submitted a query to the State Duma on Wednesday asking the house to revoke Ponomaryov’s parliamentary immunity.
"The information available to me says the house has received the documents from the Prosecutor General’s Office, indeed," Yury Shuvalov, the chief of the Duma department for public relations told reporters.
Ilya Ponomaryov himself was the first one to report on the prosecutors’ query regarding the revocation of his parliamentary immunity. He linked it to his plans to return to Russia in May 2015.
He added, however, that he would not return if a threat of being arrested by law enforcement agencies emerged. "If they want to detain me I won’t return, naturally, because it’s no sense going to jail of your own free will is it?"
"However, if there no such decision (on the revocation of immunity — TASS) is taken, and the debt (an overdue debt he is accused of having — TASS) is paid off, then I’ll come to Russia because I am a member of parliament there and no one relieved me of these duties there," Ponomaryov said.
He said he was not going to step down as a member of parliament of his own free will. Nor was he going to appeal for asylum in any other country.
Skolkovo Foundation filed a lawsuit against Ponomaryov in April 2013. Top executives of the fund said this happened after his refusal to file a financial report on the lectures, for which he had received $750,000 under contract and a court entertained it partially in August 2013.
In September 2014, Ponomaryov told TASS he was outside of Russia but war ready to return unless restrictions on his entry were introduced. He said then he was going to stay in Asian countries and the US.
Speaking to TASS over the phone on Wednesday, Ponomaryov said he was not quite sure what the current charges against him were.
"Either they’ve pushed the Skolkovo case forward or else they’ve decided to accuse me of organizing the May 6 (2012) unrest, which is more probable, or else they are trying to stick the high treason label to me - an unpredictable option," he said.
At the time of reporting, TASS did not have any comments from the Prosecutor General’s Office.