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Ekho Moskvi radio station

Alexei Arbatov on the proposal to punish the relatives of terrorists

January 23, 2002

Anchor: News from the Duma: the Duma has drafted a law that has engendered many disputes. The draft concerns the introduction of punishment for the families and relatives of terrorists. According to the draft, terrorist's relatives, even those not living together with the terrorist, should be held responsible, if they knew about his plans. Some people think that this idea is correct: for example here are the comments of the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky:

Zhirinovsky (Ed. accurate translation of his words): Some form of family responsibility should be introduced, because these are specific children, and as Talibans are mostly orphans, whose parents were killed, and we also have orphans, special camps must have been prepared to train them. They may have been trained there, in Afghanistan: in this case we have to find new variants of responsibility or all the countries will begin liquidating us, what else should we do? Should we wait until the water supply system in Moscow is poisoned and three million Moscovites are poisoned? Let us try to find the family of such a scoundrel.

Anchor: Other people, however, call this draft ďa law for repressing families". They think that the draft violates the principle of personal liability. Alexei Arbatov, Deputy Chairman of the Defence Committee of the State Duma, said:

Arbatov: The amendments to the law on the fight with terrorism are absolutely unacceptable in parts where they envisage the responsibility of the relatives of terrorists, as the state has at its disposal considerable power, secret services and weapons to eliminate terrorism everywhere and should achieve this goal efficiently, by using all available methods. Some principles must not be violated by the state, if it does not wish to stand at one level with organised crime, the mafia, bandits and terrorists. In particular, one principle holds that son is not liable for his father. The draft virtually means the transition to taking hostages. This is a very slippery path.

See also:

War in Chechnya

Ekho Moskvi radio station, January 23, 2002

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