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Russia advances antiterrorism bill

MOSCOW — The Russian Parliament’s lower house on Friday approved new legislation that toughens punishment for terrorism and requires terrorists’ relatives to pay for the damages caused in attacks.

The document comes as Russia is preparing to host the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February amid concerns about security threats posed by an Islamist insurgency that has raged across the North Caucasus region.

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The bill, quickly passed by the State Duma in a unanimous vote, is expected to see a similarly swift approval in the upper house and be signed by President Vladimir Putin.

The document says that training for terrorist activities, something that isn’t spelled out in the current law, is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. At the same time, it envisages that those involved in such training would be absolved of any punishment if they report it to the authorities.

For the first time, the new bill makes relatives of a terrorist responsible for paying damages resulting from an attack.

“We think that it’s a very important form of preventive measures and action against terror, because the terrorist would know that it would not be just him held responsible, including financial responsibility, but his relatives, too,” said Nikolai Kovalyov, a lawmaker who was one-time chief of the main KGB successor agency, the Federal Security Service.

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