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Medvedev proposes harsher punishments for extremism

Source: (info), 11/11/11

· Ministry of Internal Affairs

President Dmitry Medvedev considers it possible to look into the question of making punishments for certain categories of crimes linked with extremism harsher. 

“I consider that in certain circumstances we can think about increasing the severity of the punishments, only it is necessary to look at the specific nature of the crimes in question,” he said at a meeting with personnel from Moscow’s Akademichesky district police department. 

“I have never proposed reducing the punishments for such crimes, or making them weaker. I don’t believe this is an area where it is possible to take a humanistic approach because historically what we are talking about is a category of serious crimes that undermine the bases of the constitutional order, and of law and order in the country,” the President emphasised.

He instructed the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ representatives to bring forward proposals.

It was Timur Valiulin, head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Moscow division of the Centre for Combating Extremism (“Centre-E”) who put forward the idea of introducing more severe sanctions for crimes against the constitutional order at the meeting with the President, Rosbalt news agency reports.

Meanwhile, Russian human rights defenders have criticized Moscow’s Centre-E for "exceeding the powers of the police during the breaking up of demonstrations by opposition politicians and civic activists”, and also for the persecution and surveillance of activists.

“We are convinced that Centre-E in its current form not only fails to fulfil its declared function of combating extremism but also directly violates the constitutional rights of citizens,” a statement issued by human rights defenders on 3 November declares. “Therefore it is necessary either to abolish Centre-E, or radically reform its methods of work”, the statement says.

The statement was signed by Ludmila Alekseeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Lev Ponomarev, leader of the Movement for Human Rights, Liliya Shibanova, head of the GOLOS Association, and other representatives of the Russian human rights community.