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Amnesty in Russia faces difficulties over unsettled problem of damage payments

July 30, 2013, 12:04 UTC+3

A person cannot be set at large, unless the damage is refunded, but within the criminal case the damage is frequently fixed by detectives

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Only 29 businesspeople have been released from prison, criminal prosecution was terminated against 61 businesspeople and ten businesspeople were relieved from suspended sentences and other types of punishment during the month that passed since economic amnesty took effect in Russia, the Kommersant daily reported on Tuesday. This report was made public by the staff business rights ombudsman Boris Titov, who noted that the process of amnesty will go on ‘slowly’ unless it’s clarified which authorities determine the amount of damage and compensations to the injured parties.

Most of them were convicted for fraud in crediting. Criminal prosecution was terminated against 61 people.

Boris Titov noted that “the process is going on, but with some issues.” “The resolution over amnesty holds that a person cannot be set at large, unless the damage is refunded, but within the criminal case the damage is frequently fixed by detectives, and they refuse to release people without the compensation of damage,” he explained. “We believe that if neither the court nor the bailiffs determine the damage, there should be no obstacles for release from custody.” The ombudsman said with regret that “the process of release from custody will be going on slowly unless this problem is settled.”

The convicts amnestied by the Interior Ministry have already compensated the damage in the amount of 42,903,000 rubles, the staff of the business rights commissioner stated, explaining that there is no statistics over the damage paid by released under amnesty through the Federal Penitentiary Service.

Regional business ombudsmen also should assist to the businesspeople in the amnesty, but they are appointed not in all regions yet. “A business ombudsman is needed, but the form, in which it was proposed, cannot suit me as a businessman,” lawmaker Leonid Doroshev told the Kommersant daily. According to the project, the business rights commissioner is appointed and dismissed by the governor. In the view of the lawmaker, the ombudsman will not be independent from the regional authorities.

In compliance with the law, the head of the federal constituent territory appoints a regional business ombudsman on coordination with the federal plenipotentiary representative. The decisions on ombudsmen were taken without him in the Ulyanovsk region and Bashkortostan, but he determined their powers again, Boris Titov said. “In other regions the debates are going on, the procedure is being made more democratic,” Titov noted. “In St. Petersburg after the nomination of candidates the debates were arranged between them, a winner was chosen, coordinated with me and only after that he was appointed,” Titov underlined.

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