Moscow: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev`s
proposed bill on toughening punishment for terrorists and
their supporters has drawn flak from the rights activists and
prominent lawmakers who have expressed fears that it might be
applied to those who had no intention of aiding terrorism.
The bill was recently submitted to the State Duma (Lower
House) and its opponents fear that if it is adopted without
amendments, it might be applied to those who had no intention
of aiding terrorism, Kommersant daily reported today.
"A Just Russia` party`s lawmaker Gennady Gudkov said that
the bill does not outline such term as "intent," which seems
to him to be wrong.
"A person might be declared to be an accomplice of
terrorists only if it is proved in a court that the person
helped with intent to commit a terrorist act," Gudkov was
quoted as saying by the daily.
Russian Human Rights Institute director Valentin Gefter
said that anyone would be tried for anything under backing
terrorism as he explained that under the proposal made by
Medvedev there will not be a need to prove intent.
Currently, the Russian law says that abetting a crime is
a deliberate joint participation of two or more persons in
committing an intentional crime.
Following double deadly suicide bombings on two stations
of Moscow metro in March and a string of attacks in Daghestan
targeting police, Medvedev had called for harsher punishment
saying that the people who "wash cloths or cook soup for the
terrorists" should be punished as the backers of terrorism and
for "aiding terrorists."
Kommersant noted that the term "aiding terrorists" could
be misconstrued to mean giving accommodations to or feeding or
washing the clothes of individuals who the purveyor of those
particular services had no idea were terrorists at the time.
The opposition leaders have also called another government
proposed bill cleared yesterday by the Federation Council
(Upper House) a `draconian law`.
It allows "preventive measures" by the Federal Security
Service (FSB) against individuals and organisations allegedly
committing extremist actions.
Speaker of the Upper House Sergei Mironov was the only
person to vote against the bill giving FSB, one of three
successors of Soviet KGB, the right to issue warnings to
individuals and organisations.
Mironov, expressed confidence that the bill, which could
be directed against political opposition, would have to be
Rights` activist and chairperson of Presidential advisory
council on promoting civil society Ella Panfilova, flaying the
bill as restoration of Soviet-era KGB practices, expressed
hope that Medvedev will refuse to sign it into law.