Medvedev to reduce punishments for minor offences

© RIA Novosti Dmitry Medvedev
 Dmitry Medvedev - Sputnik International
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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is currently papering amendments to the national Criminal Code which would reduce punishments for minor offences, the leader of the Just Russia party said on Wednesday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is currently papering amendments to the national Criminal Code which would reduce punishments for minor offences, the leader of the Just Russia party said on Wednesday.

"The president announced that he soon would introduce [to the lower house of parliament] proposals on amendments to the Criminal Code which would help to abate the minimum punishments [for minor offences]," Levichev said after Medvedev had met with leaders of State Duma parties.

"He said that when he reads petitions for clemency, tears well up his eyes. If drunken man takes another person's hat in the cloakroom, he gets three years," Levichev said.

Medvedev's amendments will also concern punishment for economic crimes, he added.

In April, Medvedev signed into law amendments to legislation on economic crimes intended to increase the use of bail for suspects awaiting trial and halt the abuse of the system, where officials attempt to pressure suspects by keeping them in pretrial detention for extended periods.

He has also proposed updating the law on money laundering, a vaguely formulated article in the criminal code that has allowed law-enforcers to arbitrarily interpret offences committed by businessmen.

Medvedev, who portrays himself as a young and technologically savvy leader, is seeking to improve the economic environment in the country and create incentives for domestic businesses to switch to a knowledge-based and innovative economy.

He has repeatedly urged law-enforcers to abandon the practice of numerous checks and inspections on companies, especially small and medium business, widely seen as an instrument to extort money from entrepreneurs or remove competitors in an unfair way.

Russia was ranked 146th of 180 in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2009, below countries like Nigeria and Ecuador. It moved up one place from 2008, when it was ranked 147th.

GORKI, November 24 (RIA Novosti)

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