Russia President Putin Signs New Anti-Terror Bill into Law

Russia President Putin Signs New Anti-Terror Bill into Law
Fri Jul 8, 2016 14:38:10

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a package of counter-terrorism measures, including tougher sentences for terrorism and extremism offences.

The measures, posted online by the government on Thursday, criminalize several offences and extend prison sentences for online crimes like abetting terrorism.

The document orders up to 10 years of imprisonment for anyone engaging in international terrorism, and up to 15 years for anyone found guilty of financing terrorist groups.

The new bill lowers the age threshold for the imprisonment of terrorist convicts to 14 years from the current 16.

The package of anti-terror amendments also boosts the surveillance powers for the security services. The most controversial part of the bill is the obligation for communication companies to keep information about their clients’ data traffic for three years.

The anti-terrorist package of bills had been drafted in April 2016 by a group of lower house lawmakers, who described it as a response to the ongoing terrorist attacks in various parts of the world.

Some of its initial provisions were removed during hearings in the State Duma after many aspects of the document sparked broad public discussion.

Russian businesses as well as pro-business politicians have raised objections to the bill. Major Russian cellular providers have recently addressed lawmakers with an open letter, saying that complying with the new demands would cost them billions of dollars without any compensation from the state.

Responding to the series of objections, President Putin has signed a decree ordering the government to implement measures that would minimize the risks to the business community.

The developments come as Jean-Paul Laborde, a United Nations (UN) assistant secretary general and executive director of the world body’s Counter-Terrorism Committee, has recently said that approximately 30,000 foreign terrorists are operating in Syria and Iraq, warning that the militants, who have suffered heavy losses on the battlefield, pose threats to their home countries upon their return.

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