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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bill Allows Police to Break Law

The Prosecutor General's Office has drafted a controversial bill offering police officers immunity from prosecution if they break the law while working undercover in criminal gangs or in sting operations.

The bill, which has yet to be submitted to the State Duma, is an amendment to a law regulating the operational and investigative activities of law enforcement and security agencies.

The bill applies to police detectives who may have to buy drugs or weapons from suspected dealers to catch them red-handed, Gazeta reported Tuesday.

"Such situations occur very often in the everyday work of law enforcers, and all security and law enforcement agencies have called for the law to be amended," said Gennady Gudkov, a Duma deputy with the pro-Kremlin United Russia party and a former security officer.

Similar laws exist in the West, Gudkov said by telephone Tuesday.

Police detectives already buy drugs and weapons in sting operations that are usually videotaped, but technically their actions are illegal. To avoid prosecution, detectives are required to prove the need to break the law in court.

The bill also seeks to make it easier for police detectives to entrap suspects in criminal gangs by allowing them, among other things, to steal and transport weapons or drugs.

The proposal was announced Friday by Deputy Prosecutor Vladimir Kolesnikov, Gazeta reported. A spokeswoman from the Prosecutor General's Office would not comment on the bill.

If adopted, the legislation could open the way for police abuse. Police are notoriously known for such practices as planting drugs and guns to blackmail people or to make false arrests to flatter their statistics. The Interior Ministry has busted several groups of police officers on suspicion of running extortion rings over the past year.

"If this amendment is adopted, measures of strict control over these crimes should be established as well. Otherwise, things could descend into chaos, especially in this country," Gudkov said.

The Prosecutor General's Office presented another controversial proposal Friday. Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov proposed a bill allowing authorities to detain terrorists' relatives in the event of a hostage crisis and use them as a negotiating tool. Some deputies denounced the proposal as inappropriate and unconstitutional.