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Russian lawmakers draw plan to combat terrorism

A package of anti-terrorist laws will be submitted to the State Duma lower house of Russia's parliament on Wednesday, January 15

MOSCOW, January 15. /ITAR-TASS World Service/. A package of anti-terrorist laws will be submitted to the State Duma lower house of Russia's parliament on Wednesday, January 15. It comprises three sections: higher responsibility and stronger measures in combating terrorism, information security of telecommunication networks and regulation of personal data in payments. Lawmakers have proposed to amend the criminal and administrative law, the legislation that regulates communication, the Internet, banking and law-enforcement, and the operation of non-governmental organizations and regional government bodies. The authors of the package of bills are representatives of all house factions.

A State Duma source told the newspaper Izvestia that the terrorist attacks in Volgograd accelerated the law-enforcement bodies and lawmakers' work towards toughening anti-terrorist legislation. "The work to toughen responsibility for terrorism was conducted before, but the Volgograd tragedy that claimed the lives of several dozen Russian citizens, not only expedited the legislators' work, but also made the proposed measures more aggressive towards the criminals," the source said.

The main and toughest amendments are proposed for the law on the Federal Security Service and the Criminal Code.

Lawmakers have taken a tough and even aggressive position in fighting terrorism, as a number of Criminal Code articles will list capital punishment among penalties.

The Code of Administrative Offences will add an article on funding terrorism. It envisions responsibility for legal entities for fund raising or providing financial services intended for the organization or preparation of terrorist attack.

Lawmakers are also amending the legislation on information security. The law on communication and information technologies will commit the hosts, websites owners and providers to keep information about users for six months.

Antiterrorist laws will regulate payment systems as well. For example, it will not be possible to transfer anonymously more than 15,000 rubles a month through such systems as Yandex.Koshelyok.

Russia will have tighter control over the spending by non-governmental organizations, which receive money from foreign sources. An NGO will have to report its expenses if 100,000 rubles or more are transferred to its account.

The amendments to the law on the Federal Security Service empower FSB personnel to search suspicious citizens and transport, the Vedomosti newspaper underlines. At present, only police have such authority.

Penalties for terrorism will be more severe. Suspended or softer sentences are not possible and statute of limitation will not apply. "Tougher penalties for terrorism are outrageous: the tougher the penalty, the less information law-enforcement bodies will have about terrorists' plans," the Vedomosti cited editor-in-chief of the website Andrei Soldatov as saying. The expert says that until recently, the authorities combined force and negotiations in combating terrorism: they not only conducted special operations in the Caucasus, but also set up special commissions for rehabilitating militants returning to normal life, so persons who abandoned militants' ranks shared information with secret services. These commissions have not been operating for the past 12 months because of the Olympic Games in Sochi, and the authorities seem to have opted for force only, Soldatov said.

These measures will not be popular, the Kommersant newspaper quoted Oleg Denisenko (KPRF faction), one of the authors of the amendments, as saying. However, he is confident that secret services need these instruments in order to stop terrorists before they can commit an act of terror. The Kremlin supported the lawmakers. "We welcome the measures aimed at strengthening state security," the newspaper's source in the presidential administration said.

"It makes no sense to increase prison terms: nobody detains terrorists now; the terrorist are killed," head of the Sova information and analytical center Alexander Vekhovsky said. In addition, suicide bombers are not daunted by penalties. The Criminal Code already envisions responsibility for those who are planning acts of terror. Non-governmental organizations account for every penny now, and secret services continue to have unhindered access to information on the Internet.


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