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MOSCOW, October 5 (Itar-Tass) — On Tuesday, the State Duma approved the first reading of a presidential bill, which toughens the responsibility for sex crimes against minors. All State Duma factions supported the bill. Analytical experts noted that a more intensive campaign against paedophiles is primarily explained by election campaigning.
The presidential amendments in Russian legislation not only ban the suspended sentence from sex crimes against children under 14, but also envisage the chemical castration of paedophiles, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta writes. The bill, which stirred up heated debates in the State Duma, does not contain the term of chemical castration. The bill only mentions some medical restrictive measures against those, who committed sex crimes against adolescents.
The bill envisages the ban for parole release or delayed sentence to the convicts for the crimes against underage children, the Kommersant writes. If the crime was committed against a child under 14, the sentence can be even life in prison. The appeals for lenient verdicts will be tried only from the convicts, who served no less than 80% of sentence. The punishment to habitual offenders for these crimes will be toughened up to life imprisonment. Meanwhile, forced medical restrictive measures are introduced. The measures will be based on a court verdict, which is passed after a psychiatric expertise. Meanwhile, the chemical castration (injections, which block the effect of hormones) will be made if the convict agrees on it.
The bill was approved in the first reading amid critical remarks from the opposition factions, which consider it not quite tough, and believe that a tougher punishment under several articles is not absolutely obvious, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta noted. The conflict over the amendments flared up on Tuesday morning. Fair Russia deputies asked why their bill on the same issue was not put up for voting as alternative to the presidential one. The State Duma majority preferred not to recall that one more anti-paedophile bill, which all factions signed, was approved in the first reading long ago. However, the problem is not in the official approval procedure, but in the election campaign gaining momentum.
Probably it is accidental, but the paedophilia problem is very popular recently, the newspaper noted. The ‘paedophile lobby’ expression became quite widespread. The Russian Orthodox Church has recently joined a common anti-paedophile campaign. Russia approved several laws, which are seeking to fight paedophilia, but the situation remains the same. The experts linked a closer attention to this problem with the election campaign. The paedophile lobby most likely did not exist, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta believes. Just Medvedev’s initiative was put aside until recently, particularly due to the fact it is high time in the State Duma election campaign. “We witness the reformatting of the United Russia election campaign from Putin to Medvedev,” the Nezavisimaya Gazeta quoted secretary of the Communist Party Central Committee Sergei Obukhov as saying. This tendency will be more obvious in the future, he pointed out.
Chief of the For Human Rights movement Lev Ponomarev told the Kommersant that “a tougher punishment is just a purely formal and populist measure linked with the fact that President Dmitry Medvedev headed the United Russia party list.” “The punishment cannot be made tougher in a corrupt system, where we live,” the human rights activist believes.
The political scientists noted that the State Duma priorities will change over a coming election campaign, the RBC daily writes. “The criticism from the opposition, which is busy with its PR campaign, will be sharper. This fact is linked with an upcoming election campaign,” Director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov said. The changes in the work of the authorities that took shape at the United Russia Congress and right after it will be influential. “In this respect, the emphases in the lawmaking will change,” the expert said.