Rus­sia backs bill to strip ‘ter­ror­ists’ of cit­i­zen­ship

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Rus­sian MPs yes­ter­day passed a law to strip nat­u­ral­ized ci­ti­zens of pass­ports for of­fences classed as “ter­ror­ism” fol­low­ing a deadly April sui­cide bomb­ing in the Saint Peters­burg metro. The lower house of par­lia­ment passed the bill in its fi­nal third read­ing. It now goes through the se­nate and to Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin for a fi­nal sig­na­ture. Putin called for such a law af­ter the April 3 at­tack in the sec­ond city of Saint Peters­burg by a bomber who was born in Kyr­gyzs­tan but then gained Rus­sian cit­i­zen­ship.

The bomber and 15 others died in the at­tack. Putin said au­thor­i­ties should have the power to re­voke the pass­ports of nat­u­ral­ized ci­ti­zens on ter­ror grounds, cit­ing large num­bers of Rus­sian na­tion­als join­ing the Is­lamic State group to fight in Syria. The new leg­is­la­tion in­tro­duces an oath for those who ac­quire Rus­sian cit­i­zen­ship to ob­serve the laws and con­sti­tu­tion and “to be true to Rus­sia, to re­spect its cul­ture, his­tory and tra­di­tions.”

The new leg­is­la­tion says any­one who is con­victed of com­mit­ting or pre­par­ing to com­mit a crime “in­volv­ing ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­ity” can be stripped of nat­u­ral­ized cit­i­zen­ship. Those con­victed of such of­fences will be treated le­gally as if they lied when they swore the oath of al­le­giance. Courts would be obliged to in­form the im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties within five days of such a ver­dict en­ter­ing force. The new leg­is­la­tion also makes it eas­ier for Ukraini­ans to gain Rus­sian cit­i­zen­ship. If signed into law, it will en­ter force on Septem­ber 1 this year. —AFP

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