A draft resolution on amnestying persons convicted of economic crimes under the RF Criminal Code will be submitted to the State Duma lower house of parliament by this weekend. The released persons will have to compensate for damages caused by their actions. Human rights activists do not agree with such a novelty and claim that such an approach contradicts the very idea of amnesty.
The working group that was drafting the document estimated that 110,924 people will be released, according to the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily newspaper. And according to member of the Duma committee on criminal legislation Rafael Mardanshin, the draft resolution is currently being finalised. The time is running out. It is planned to declare the amnesty on the eve of Businessman Day on May 26. The current amnesty will cover not only convicted entrepreneurs. The developers of the document have proposed to amnesty also WW2 veterans and veterans of combat operations, pregnant women, the disabled and minors.
Human rights activist Valery Borshchev in a conversation with the Novye Izvestia daily newspaper was pessimistic. He fears that the amnesty could become a subject of bargaining. “Demanding from amnestied persons to compensate for damages? You know, it’s a very distorted understanding of amnesty,” Borshchev is surprised. “Amnesty is, in fact, an act of pardon in which a person is released, and the sentence that demands the compensation of damages is recalled. If it is not, then it is not an amnesty, but release on parole: a person is released, but part of the sentence remains in force.” In addition, the expert suspects that only those who plead guilty may be amnestied. Valery Borshchev does not entertain a hope that Khodorkovsky and Lebedev will be released within the coming amnesty.
Deputy chairman of the Duma Committee on Economic Policy Viktor Zvagelsky told the Kommersant daily daily that the current amnesty draft is “rather declarative” and it should be “legally” finalised. Zvagelsky said that the inter-factional parliamentary group for the protection of entrepreneurs he heads intends together with experts to check the cases of 11,500 convicts. “We want to see what is the percentage of convicts with repetition of offences and under which articles they were convicted,” said Zvagelsky. “If we do everything indiscriminately, those who were fairly convicted, for example, the organisers of various “pyramids” who deceived shareholders, as well as embezzlers will be amnestied.”