Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed into law a bill that provides tougher penalties for recidivist pedophiles, including life imprisonment and chemical castration, the Kremlin said on Wednesday.
The draft law was passed by the parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, on February 7 and by the Federation Council, the upper chamber, on February 22.
The bill, which tightens punishment for most kinds of sex crimes against minors, was introduced by the Kremlin in October and generated much debate and revision.
The most widely discussed innovation is chemical castration, which is to be introduced in Russia for the first time. The bill in its current form only speaks about “mandatory medical treatment” without elaborating but officials who worked on the draft said it includes both chemical castration and psychiatric drug treatment.
Convicts in other types of sex crimes involving minors will have the option of voluntarily seeking chemical castration when pleading for parole, the bill said. Dodging “mandatory medical treatment” after release on parole will be punishable with one year in jail.
Poland enacted a law in 2009 that would allow forced chemical castration in some circumstances. Portugal and the UK also recently used chemical castration when handing down sentences in sexual abuse cases. Its usefulness when dealing with sexual predators has not yet been proven and is being proposed for the treatment of pedophiles in Europe, the U.S. and 5 other western countries.