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    Medvedev approves stepping up Federal Security Service powers

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    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has approved amendments expanding the powers of the Federal Security Service (FSB) aimed at preventing crimes, the Kremlin's press service said on Thursday.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has approved amendments expanding the powers of the Federal Security Service (FSB) aimed at preventing crimes, the Kremlin's press service said on Thursday.

    The main Russian domestic security agency was given the right to issue official warnings to a person within 10 days after obtaining information that suggests he or she may be about to commit a crime.

    For non-observance of FSB orders or hindering the agency from carrying out its official duties, Russians may face up to 15 days behind bars.

    The amendments provoked strong controversy in Russia. Human rights activists have repeatedly called on lawmakers not to adopt the law, saying that expanding FSB powers is unnecessary.

    On the other hand, the initiators and the backers of the amendments said the new rules will allow combating terrorism more efficiently.

    After a discussion on the draft in Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, several items removed. The texts of the official FSB warnings will not be published in media.

    Following two suicide bombings in Moscow's subway in March, which killed 40 and injured over 100, many Russian politicians have said it is necessary to increase criminal liability and preventive measures against terrorism.

    In April, a new bill that allows "preventive measures" against individuals committing extremist actions was submitted to the Russian parliament, fueling fears among opposition parties of a revival of Soviet-era practices.

    Russia's mainly Muslim North Caucasus republics, especially Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, have seen an upsurge of militant violence lately. Experts see the poor social and economic situation in the region as the main reason for the numerous terrorist attacks in the country.

     

    MOSCOW, July 29 (RIA Novosti)

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