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Kremlin comments on calls for death penalty after terrorist attack

The Kremlin is not discussing the potential reinstatement of capital punishment, the Russian president’s spokesman said

The Kremlin is not involved in any talks on lifting Russia’s moratorium on the death penalty in the wake of last week’s terrorist attack, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

At least 137 people were killed in Friday’s massacre at the Crocus City concert hall on the outskirts of Moscow, and more than 180 were injured, according to officials. The atrocity has reignited a debate among lawmakers on reinstating capital punishment, which has effectively been banned in Russia since 1996.

“We are not taking part in this discussion,” Peskov said in response to a question from TASS news agency. 

Supporters of the move, including the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), Leonid Slutsky, have argued that an exception to the moratorium should be made for the four gunmen that carried out Friday’s attack.

The head of the United Russia faction in the State Duma, Vladimir Vasiliev, also stated after the tragedy that the idea of reintroducing the death penalty for acts of terrorism would be “deeply and professionally worked through” and that a decision will be made that will “meet the mood and expectations of our society.”

While the Russian criminal code technically has a provision for issuing the death penalty, courts are de facto banned from handing down such a sentence.

As explained by the head of the Federal Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation, Andrey Klishas, the reintroduction of capital punishment is legally impossible as neither chamber of Russia’s parliament “can overcome the decisions of the Constitutional Court of Russia on the issue of the death penalty.”

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The head of Russia’s Constitutional Court, Valery Zorkin, previously pointed out that under the Constitution, everyone has the right to life, and therefore is guaranteed “the right not to be sentenced to death.” He suggested that the reintroduction of the death penalty would require the adoption of a new Constitution.

Meanwhile, the head of the State Duma Committee on State Construction and Legislation, Pavel Krasheninnikov, has argued that while the discussions on punishment for the terrorists are important, they should not be the main focus.

“Discussions about the death penalty, it seems to me, may lead us in the wrong direction,” the lawmaker said, insisting that “it is more important for us that such acts are not repeated.”

A group of gunmen stormed Crocus City Hall on the evening of March 22, just before a concert by the rock band Picnic. The venue, which has an estimated capacity of 7,500, was almost full. The terrorists killed the guards, opened fire on visitors, and then started a blaze, which quickly spread through the building.

Four men suspected of carrying out the attack have since been captured. Two of them have confessed in court, and are set to remain in custody until late May. They all face life in prison.

March 25, 2024 at 05:52PM
RT

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