In Digest, Russia

The Moscow Times, Friday, April 24, 2015

Between 350,000 and 400,000 people will be covered by the amnesty.

Russian lawmakers on Friday voted to enact an amnesty for those convicted of certain categories of crimes in honor of the 70th anniversary of the allied Victory over Nazi Germany, which Russia celebrates on May 9.

PrisonIn all, 442 State Duma deputies approved the draft bill on the amnesty, which could come into effect as early as Friday and must be enacted within six months, the Interfax news agency cited the head of the Duma’s Legislation Committee, Pavel Krasheninnikov, as saying. Between 350,000 and 400,000 people will be covered by the amnesty, Krasheninnikov added.

The amnesty will not be applied to anyone convicted of premeditated murder, terrorism, racketeering or other serious crimes. Those convicted of large-scale fraud, misappropriation or embezzlement on a large scale and bribery are also excluded from the amnesty, Interfax reported.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was slapped with suspended sentences in 2013 and 2014 for embezzlement and fraud, is therefore ineligible for the amnesty. Ukrainian pilot Nadya Savchenko, held by Russia on suspicion of aiding and abetting the murder of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine, also falls outside the perimeters of the amnesty.

Among those eligible are veterans who have committed mild or moderately serious crimes and who served in Chechnya, battled terrorists in the North Caucasus, fought in the Afghan war or helped in the clean-up effort after the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster, Interfax reported.

The amnesty will also apply to minors, women with young or disabled children, pregnant women, single fathers, men over the age of 50, and women over the age of 55 who were convicted for mild or moderate crimes. Certain cancer patients are also included in the amnesty, although anyone found guilty of committing crimes against minors is excluded, the report said.

The amnesty bill was proposed to President Vladimir Putin by the head of the Presidential Сouncil for Civil Society and Human Rights, Mikhail Fedotov, at a meeting with its members last December.

According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, the United States has 2.217 million people in jail. Russia has 673,000, about two thirds the incarceration rate of the U.S. Statistica reports that the U.S. incarceration rate is 707 per 100,000 population; for Russia, it is 471. The Russia rate will fall as the approved amnesty takes effect. The most recent, large prisoner amnesty in Russia took place on December 22, 2013. Tens of thousands of prisoner were amnestied, including Pussy Riot music band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina.

See also in The Moscow Times:
Amnesty of Russian Prisoners Won’t Include Corporate Raiding Victims

First Amnestied Prisoners to Walk Free by Russia’s Victory Day

Putin Proposes Amnesty That Could Free Every 10th Prisoner in Russia

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