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18 Jan, 2022 17:22

Russia votes on mandatory life imprisonment for pedophiles

The changes to the law will pave the way for recidivists to be locked up for life
Russia votes on mandatory life imprisonment for pedophiles

Serial pedophiles will spend the rest of their days behind bars in Russia’s prisons for repeatedly abusing minors, under recent amendments to the criminal code which have been approved by legislators.

The second and third readings of the bill were passed on Tuesday, containing changes aimed at increasing responsibility for assaulting children.

Duma chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said on Telegram that “those who have previously been convicted of violent acts against minors or committed crimes against two or more children will face punishment.” A life sentence will also be possible for cases aggravated by other serious or very grave crimes.

“The work will continue. It’s important for us to protect children from abuse… from those who can use their position for such crimes,” he added.

Volodin said that the introduction of new circumstances is also being discussed – including, if the violence is committed by a person living with the child, as well as someone who is responsible for the upbringing, education, and protection of the minor, and perpetrators working in the spheres of education and the upbringing of children.  

A new approach to time served is also said to be under discussion – sending convicted pedophiles to hard labor in grueling conditions. “We can make them work in the mines in the northern territories. That would be much harder than the death penalty,” Volodin said.

A committee will study all of the proposals and circle back to the issue on February 7.

Under current law, the maximum penalty of life imprisonment is imposed only if the crime is committed by a person previously convicted of a similar act and against a minor under the age of 14. The revised legislation expands liability to all repeat offenders who target minors younger than 18.

The law was adopted in its first reading last month. Volodin wrote on social media that “a life sentence is a just measure to isolate the degenerates. They cannot be called humans, although they are in human form. We hope that this measure will protect children, families, and society as a whole from those who cause irreparable harm.”

The bill on life imprisonment for those previously convicted of raping minors was submitted to the State Duma in September last year, following a spate of high-profile crimes across the country. That month, in Kemerovo Region, a previously convicted pedophile, Viktor Pesternikov, raped and killed two 10-year-old school girls.