The lower house of Russia’s parliament on Wednesday passed in its first reading a long-awaited bill significantly toughening punishment for laser attacks on pilots.
Only five cases of laser attacks were registered in the country in 2010, but in 2011 the number jumped to more than 30.
The bill stipulates that hooligans whose actions have threatened transport safety will be fined 80,000 rubles ($2,580) or sentenced to up to three years in prison.
People caught with pointing lasers at aircraft will get 7-year jail terms. Hooligans whose actions have led to the death of people or other grave consequences will get up 10 years in jail.
The bill also lowers the age of persons who could be punished for laser hooliganism from 16 to 14 years.
One suspect was caught in Moscow this June, and another in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya a month later and received little or no punishment. A 17-year-old suspect was told he would “face very strict measures” if a similar incident occurs again, the Chechen Interior Ministry said on its website.