Russian house to abolish juries in terrorist trials

December 17th, 2008 - 8:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Dec 17 (RIA Novosti) The upper house of Russia’s parliament approved a bill Wednesday to abolish the system of juries for trials in cases involving terrorist acts, kidnapping, treason, espionage, coup attempts and other serious offenses. Under the bill approved by the Federation Council, the country’s criminal code will be amended to require that trials of suspects charged with terrorism offenses will be heard by a panel of three judges.

Criminal offenses involving explosives aimed at causing damage to companies, transportation and communication networks or vital infrastructure with a view to disrupting Russia’s economic security and defence capabilities will be punishable by 12 to 20 years in prison.

Defendants charged with premeditated murder could face 15 to 20 years in jail or life imprisonment against the current 12 to 20 years behind bars.

Similar prison terms are expected for terrorists who target nuclear energy facilities or use nuclear, radioactive, toxic or biochemical materials to maim or kill.

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