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Russia: Attacks on Transportation to Be Criminalized

(Jan. 26, 2012) On October 19, 2011, the State Duma of the Russian Federation approved, in the first reading, amendments to the Russian Criminal Code that will establish criminal punishment for actions threatening the security of a means of public transport and the passengers on board. In order to be adopted as a law, a bill must be considered by legislators in three plenary meetings.

It appears that the amendments penalizing acts against transportation security are aimed at combating the growing number of incidents in which pilots of landing aircraft were blinded by laser beams sent from the ground. Several dozen such incidents were reported in Russia in 2011. The bill states that anyone older than 14 years of age can be charged with this crime. Some members of the Duma insisted that those who allow unrestricted import and sale of laser pointers also should be held accountable. In some Russian provinces, governors have imposed a ban on the sale of such devices after blinding incidents occurred in their regions. (Za Lazernoe Huliganstvo – 10 let Tiurmy [10-Year Imprisonment for Laser Attacks], ROSSIISKAIA GAZETA (Oct. 19, 2011).)

A hearing to analyze how laser pointers are used has been scheduled in the Duma. It is expected that Duma members will propose requirements for the production of such instruments. (Id.)

The newly introduced article consists of two parts. Acts threatening the secure use of means of transportation are punishable by a fine equivalent to about US$3,000 or by up to three years of restrictions on freedom. Acts threatening the security of aircraft are prosecuted separately and are punishable by a seven-year term of imprisonment; if these acts that threaten aircraft security result in human death or other grave consequences, imprisonment for a term of up to ten years is prescribed. (Gosduma Razreshila Nakazyvat za “Lazernoe Huliganstvo,” [State Duma Allowed to Prosecute for “Laser Hooliganism”], NEWSRU.COM (Oct. 19, 2011).)