IMPRISONMENT FOR COUNSEL

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PRESIDENT DMITRY MEDVEDEV SUGGESTED PROSECUTION OF TERRORIST ACCOMPLICES. THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMUNITY FEARS INDISCRIMINATE APPLICATION OF THE LAW

Dmitry Medvedev: Any aid to terrorists is to be regarded as corpus delicti.


Duma Chairman Boris Gryzlov promised adoption of amendments to the Penal Code specifying prosecution of terrorist accomplices. The whole idea was initially suggested by President Dmitry Medvedev. A new provision is to be added to Article 205-1 of the Penal Code, one suggesting 8 to 20 years imprisonment for assistance to crimes “in the form of counsel, instructions, information, means, or tools of the crime, or a promise to provide shelter when the crime is committed.” Other amendments will stiffen sentences for other terrorist crimes.

A secret service officer explained that the amendments mean to simplify prosecution of state officials and personnel of law enforcement agencies in the Caucasus for leaking sensitive information to the terrorist underground, as well as prosecution of terrorist accomplices. What lawyers this newspaper approached for comments agree that with the amendments adopted, sentencing accomplices to imprisonment will be easier indeed. Not even organization of the terrorist act as such will be needed to convict a person as a terrorist accomplice. On the other hand, the same lawyers comment on a certain collision. Withdrawal of Article 205-1 from Article 33 of the Penal Code (one dealing with prosecution for abettors in general) will result in a situation where law enforcement agencies will be able to press charges against accomplices to accomplices.

Magomed Mutsolgov of the Ingushetian human rights organization Mashr pointed out by way of comments that the Penal Code already includes sufficient and adequate articles dealing with abettors. “Unfortunately, the Penal Code does not work here in the Caucasus. It has not worked for years,” said Mutsolgov. “There is the danger that these amendments will legalize collective responsibility for terrorism.”

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