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19 Apr, 2017 03:18

Draft bill proposes to revoke Russian citizenship from convicted terrorists

Draft bill proposes to revoke Russian citizenship from convicted terrorists

The lower chamber of Russian parliament will consider a draft bill proposing to effectively strip those convicted on terrorism-related charges of Russian citizenship. President Vladimir Putin first hinted at the idea following the St. Petersburg Metro attack.

READ MORE: Russia mulls probation after prison to deter convicted terrorists from reoffending

The bill has been put forward by the leaders of all four State Duma factions: Vladimir Vasilyev (United Russia), Gennady Zyuganov (Communist party), Sergey Mironov (Fair Russia) and Vladimir Zhirinovsky (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia). The draft legislation proposes amendments to be made to the Article 22 of the Federal law on Russian citizenship since the Russian Constitution directly prohibits to strip Russians of their citizenship.

However, the MPs say that there should a workaround for this law when naturalized citizens are concerned. Technically, this would mean canceling the authorities’ decisions that led to granting citizenship to select individuals.

"The bill envisages amendments to Article 22 of the Law on Citizenship, under which conviction for a terrorism-related crime under the court sentence that has taken effect will constitute grounds for revoking the decision to grant Russian citizenship," its explanatory note says.

The MPs claim the changes will help to protect citizens against terrorism by deterring individuals who have obtained the citizenship.

The upper chamber of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, is ready to consider and support the bill, believes the chairman of the upper house’s Defense and Security committee, Viktor Ozerov, who spoke with RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

Chairman of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov has also voiced support for the draft bill, specifying that only naturalized citizens would be affected, not those who acquired citizenship at birth. “It will apply to foreigners and stateless persons, who have been granted citizenship,” he said.

According to Fedotov, the law also reflects president Vladimir Putin’s statement made last week in an interview to Mir 24 TV channel.

"In line with the Russian Constitution, we cannot strip anyone of their citizenship. However, we may cancel relevant decisions that served as grounds for obtaining the Russian citizenship. We will consult with our lawyers and I think that such decisions will be made in the near future," Putin said.

The statement came after Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev said the country’s citizens will be stripped of their citizenship for involvement in Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), calling such measure necessary, since preventive steps are not effective. 

On April 3, the St. Petersburg Metro was hit by an explosion, leaving 14 people dead and dozens injured. The perpetrator of the terrorist attack was identified as a 22-year-old, Kyrgyz-born Russian citizen Akbarzhon Dzhalilov. He received Russian citizenship in 2011 after moving to St. Petersburg from Osh, according to RIA Novosti citing Kyrgyz foreign ministry.

READ MORE: One organizer of St. Petersburg Metro bombing detained – FSB (VIDEO)

The decision was based on a law stating that citizenship can be given to those who have a Russian citizen as a parent, consul general of Russia in Osh, Roman Svistin, told Sputnik. Dzhalilov’s father reportedly had been residing in St. Petersburg at the time.