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Russia’s State Duma has declared an amnesty for militants and military for committing crimes in the North Caucasus
Russia’s State Duma has declared an amnesty for militants and military for committing crimes in the North Caucasus. The measure will be effective as of the moment of its official publication – probably on Saturday, September 23 – and till January 15, 2007. As he presented President Vladimir Putin’s draft resolution, the deputy chief of the federal security service FSB, Vladimir Bulavin, told the legislators that after the National Anti-Terrorist Committee addressed the members of armed gangs with a call to lay down arms 288 men agreed to give themselves up to the federal authorities. Bulavin said the amnesty offer was not addressed to those who committed crimes against the person, public security, justice and state power and also terrorism-related offences. The measure is not applicable to those who supplied military hardware for the armed gangs, habitual criminals, foreign nationals and persons without citizenship. Bulavin said that each surrendered militant would be investigated by secret services, because there was the risk some very dangerous militants might try to use the chance to have themselves legalized. The chairman of the State Duma’s criminal legislation committee, Pavel Krasheninnikov, told the media amnesty decisions would be made by courts of law in relation to persons already standing trial, and by investigation bodies, if this or that case is still in the investigation phase. Many Duma officials have described the declared amnesty as an act of clemency. “By voting for the amnesty resolution we gave people a chance to return to a normal life and work, to their families, relatives and friends,” Duma Deputy Speaker Vladimir Katrenko told the media. He believes it was quite fair to apply the amnesty to military and law enforcers, who committed crimes in the period extending from the beginning of the counter-terrorist operations on December 15, 1999 and to the day of the amnesty’s official publication. Another Duma member, Vladimir Grebeniuk, who leads the southern inter-regional coordinating council of the United Russia party, said the amnesty was the sole way towards greater stability in the North Caucasus, in particular, after the elimination of militants’ top ringleaders.
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