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Friday, July 30, 2010
Russia gives powers to FSB to prosecute 'thought crime'
The Russian security service has been given extended powers to act against people for so-called "thought crime" under a new law which opponents say marks a return to Soviet-era policing.
The bill, criticised by rights groups, would allow the Federal Security
Service (FSB) to issue official warnings to individuals whose actions are
deemed to be creating the conditions for crime.
Rights groups say the bill would essentially put the special service above the
law and harks back to Soviet times when the much-feared FSB predecessor KGB
used warnings to persecute dissidents.
The bill had already sailed through the lower and upper houses of parliament
and was today signed into law by the Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev.
In response to protests from human rights activists, lawmakers earlier removed
an amendment allowing the FSB to summon people to their offices to hand out
the warnings and also publish their warnings in the media.