Moscow blast prompts calls for death penalty moratorium to be lifted in Russia

The deputy head of the Federation Council Committee for Defense and Security has called for the cancellation of the moratorium on the death penalty in Russia for organizers and perpetrators of terrorist acts, as well as those who finance them.

­He made the statement following the blast at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport which claimed 35 lives and injured at least 120 people.

“We need to start negotiations concerning the lift of moratorium on the death penalty for terrorists,” Chekalin told journalists on Thursday.

Russia signed a protocol to the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, providing for the ban on capital punishment in peaceful time, in April 1997. The document has not been ratified in Russia so far. The moratorium on death penalty, however, is still in effect in Russia.

The senator believes that international talks are needed so that Russia’s decision be justified by the world community.

“The raising of the moratorium should not be unilateral, it should be international, taken as a result of thorough and lengthy consultations,” the senator said.

He also called for toughening rules of dealing with explosive materials in Russia. He said that today there is a simplified procedure of recycling explosives stocked in artillery deposits. So there is a risk that they could end up in the hands of terrorists. He added that a draft law on dealing with explosives has already been submitted to the State Duma, Russia’s lower parliamentary house.

The senator has also suggested a bill regulating the involvement of citizens in ensuring security.

Another idea of his, a controversial one, and likely to prompt criticism from human rights activists, is administrative oversight of people who might be a potential threat to public order.

“There are people with mental disorders who represent a social threat. It is necessary to introduce administrative oversight sanctioned by court’s ruling in their regard,” Chekalin said.