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Former convicts who committed grave crimes to be allowed to run in elections

October 25, 2013, 12:45 UTC+3

The ruling party United Russia on Friday addressed the State Duma with a proposal for lifting the lifelong ban from such people

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Former convicts who have served prison terms for the gravest crimes will be allowed to run in elections to the executive and legislative bodies of power. The ruling party United Russia on Friday addressed the State Duma with a proposal for lifting the lifelong ban from such people, the RBC Daily reported. If the Duma passes the bill, former convicts for the most cruel and venal crimes will be able to run in elections, but only fifteen years after the expiry of conviction.

Amendments to the federal electoral legislation that forbade participation in elections of any level for people ever convicted of grave (five to ten years of imprisonment) and very grave felonies (more than ten years of imprisonment) took effect July 1, 2012. In May 2013 Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced amendments, making an exception for persons once convicted of serious offences that were later stopped to be regarded as grave ones.

October 10, the Russian Constitutional Court ruled that a lifelong ban barring former grave felons from running in elections was unconstitutional, Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reports. The court also stated that the ‘criminal filter’ introduced in the summer of 2012 deprived people of passive suffrage en masse, for instance, without making any difference between real conviction and probation. The main thing, the court ruled, was that this filter did not take into account the Russian Criminal Code's provisions saying any conviction is expunged or expires after a certain period. Namely, Article 86 of the Code clearly states that “the expunging or cancellation of a criminal record shall annul all the legal consequences the conviction entails.”

Experts say, though, the legislators propose replacement of the lifelong ban from running in elections with ten- and fifteen-year probation terms following the expiry of convictions, which, “in essence, makes little difference”, the Kommersant business daily says.

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