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    MOSCOW PARLIAMENT TO IMPOSE CRIMINAL PENALTY FOR MIGRANT SMUGGLERS

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 3 (RIA NOVOSTI) - Under consideration in the Moscow city legislature is a draft law introducing criminal penalty for migrant smugglers. The idea behind the draft is to curb the growing inflow of illegal migrants into the Russian capital.

    As Yuri Popov, one of the bill's architects, pointed out, "about 80 percent of crimes in the [Russian] capital are committed by migrants, disgruntled over their underprivileged status, yet the Russian Criminal Code envisages no criminal responsibility for people who make money on smuggling migrants in."

    According to Mr. Popov, the new bill imposes a criminal penalty of up to five years in jail for smuggling illegal migrants into Russia, as well as arranging for them to stay and work here without an official permit.

    The Moscow lawmakers will continue deliberations on the bill for two weeks, to then pass it on to their counterparts in the State Duma, or the lower house of Russia's federal parliament. They believe their draft will have no problem getting through as migrant smuggling is officially qualified as a criminal offense in most Western countries.

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