Russian Lawmaker Proposes Including Defendants in Amnesty

MOSCOW, December 17 (RIA Novosti) – A state lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party proposed Tuesday to broaden plans for an amnesty to include people who are still on trial or under investigation. 

Viktor Pinsky, the deputy head of the Duma committee on legislation, said that his party could see room for several minor amendments to the amnesty bill, such as excluding convicted child molesters and terrorists from eligibility for amnesty, but that the changes “should not affect the overall concept of the project.”

Pinsky said that United Russia – the majority parliamentary political faction – supported the amnesty bill, which lawmakers passed in its first reading Tuesday when 442 of the 450 state parliament deputies voted for the measure. 

The amnesty, which would currently apply to people serving sentences of up to five years for non-violent crimes who have not previously served jail time, is expected to pass its second reading scheduled for December 18 and could enter into force by the end of the week. 

President Vladimir Putin submitted the bill in early December to grant amnesty to Russian prisoners as a gesture of goodwill to mark the 20th anniversary of the constitution this month. The amnesty could affect from 30,000 to 100,000 prisoners, according to various estimates. 

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