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    DUMA TO BRING BACK CAPITAL PUNISHMENT?

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    MOSCOW, September 16 (RIA Novosti) - The State Duma, the Russian parliament's lower house, is gathering for this season's first plenary session, September 22, Wednesday next. It will debate prospects to set up, together with the Federation Council-upper house, an ad hoc commission that will investigate last August's chain of terror acts in Moscow and the recent school hostage-taking tragedy in Beslan, announced Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov. He was addressing newsmen after a session of an ad hoc team that is drafting anti-terror legal amendments.

    The Duma team started work, September 3, the day the Beslan suspense found its sanguinary end. Spokesmen of involved ministries and other central offices are taking part in team routine, added Mr. Gryzlov.

    The team will offer to the house an anti-terror package it has debated. Eleven bills have reached the Duma even for today. One of them, "On Repulsing Terrorism", is in preliminary reading.

    The Duma will also debate prospects to introduce capital punishment for terrorism. "Current developments make us come back to the issue again and again, and we shall take it up now," said Gryzlov.

    Many members of the public, MPs among them, demand death penalty reinstated, acknowledged the Speaker though, as he sees it, Russia ought to preserve a capital punishment moratorium it introduced as soon as it joined the Council of Europe.

    As for the Duma's another drastic legislative initiative, which envisages property confiscation for such heinous crimes as terrorism, hostage taking, and drug and arms trafficking-as well as bribery and embezzlement, Mr. Gryzlov is enthusiastic about it.

    "Efforts against financing crime and terror are inefficient. We all see it now. Whatever crimes international terrorists are perpetrating involve huge sums," stressed the Duma Speaker, who hopes confiscations will undermine the underworld's material base.

    One of the bills for debate on a top priority schedule envisages public involvement in law enforcement, Boris Gryzlov went on.

    "Contemporary Russia has certain public groups and organisations who deem it necessary to do their bit for law and order. These are voluntary patrols, Cossack troops, and student police assistants. It is high time now to precisely determine their rights and duties.

    "The bill ought to be passed as soon as possible. It is a must now-we shall never make anti-terror efforts efficient enough unless the public joins in," he emphatically said.

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