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21 Jun, 2010 11:16

Informants to get rewards for assisting in fighting terror

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has said that citizens will be paid for presenting information on imminent terrorist attacks.

A draft order on the rewarding of persons rendering assistance in countering terrorism has been published on the body’s official website. According to the document by the head of the FSB, Aleksandr Bortnikov, people who help to prevent and investigate terrorist acts, assist in the identification and detention of those preparing or carrying out attacks, will be remunerated.

The order does not reveal any exact sums that citizens will are likely to get for their assistance, but says it will depend on the provision of the counter-terrorist bodies with budget funds. Personal collaboration and significant results in fighting terrorism will also count.

For instance, the FSB vows to pay informers for reliable information on terrorist suspects which would lead to their exposure and detention, or for information on methods of the crime which helps in the solving and investigation of the attack. Among other grounds meriting a gratuity, the document names “a timely report on an imminent terrorist attack, which resulted in its revelation, notice or prevention” and “other important information”.

The draft order has been issued in accordance with Article 25 of the “Federal Law on Countering Terrorism” of 2006, which provides for money rewards for assistance in fighting the plague of the 21st Century. The FSB document clarifies in what cases citizens can expect to be paid for information.

Gleb Pavlovsky, the head of the Effective Politics Foundation, has praised the move, saying it could yield positive results.

“In fact what we see is a price list. Some kind of bargaining is being held: its technology is dirty, but results are very useful,” he said in an interview with “Nezavisimaya” (Independent) daily. According to the expert, such instructions are used worldwide. The point of them is to make people responsible for what they say, since there are many devotees who enjoy getting money for nothing, or, even worse, “for slandering innocent people.”

Among the requirements the FSB’s document lists, is, for instance, provision of passport or any other identity data of terrorist suspects.

“Strict terms of getting rewards simply encourage people to try and get documents [passport or any other identity information],” Pavlovsky said. He noted that in Russia, normally “specific people who cannot be trusted completely” report to law enforcement agencies.

Since the end of the Nineties, terrorist attacks in Russia have claimed the lives of over 2,000 civilians. In March this year, the capital was rocked by the Metro bombings. The two blasts at Park Kultury and Lubyanka – which is just in front of the FSB headquarters – on March 29, killed 40 people and injured about 90 others. That was followed by attacks in the North Caucasian republics of Dagestan and Ingushetia.

The country’s authorities are striving to bring these frightening statistics to an end. According to FSB chief Aleksandr Bortnikov, since the beginning of the year, over 240 militants and 11 leaders of armed groups have been neutralized in Russia’s North Caucasus.

However, some ideas the government is mulling over are causing concerns among society. Among these are amendments to the law which would largely expand the FSB’s powers. Under the bill, the FSB will be entitled to make an official warning to individuals who are about to commit a crime. The bureau will also receive the right to punish citizens for disobedience with either a fine of up to a thousand rubles ($33) or detention for up to 15 days. Rights groups have already warned of possible repressions that might follow if the bill becomes law.