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Homeland Security

Medvedev signs law to spread terror convicts around Russian jails

RIA Novosti

14:18 30/06/2011

MOSCOW, June 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a law allowing convicted terrorists to be held in any of more than 220 jails across the 17 million square kilometer country.

The amendments to the Criminal Code, passed by parliament earlier this month, will reduce the possibility of inmates accused of terrorism or participation in armed groups being "concentrated" together, "especially in troubled areas," the Kremlin said in a statement on Thursday.

Formerly, terrorist convicts were being treated like regular convicts and would customarily end up in jails near where they had been operating or residing.

With terrorist convicts, that would usually be in the volatile North Caucasus region, where attacks by Islamist insurgents occur regularly.

The practice of dispersing prisoners throughout a country's prison system in order to break up close-knit networks of convicted terrorists has been tried in other countries. Experts say that after Spain introduced the policy for ETA convicts in 1989, dozens renounced the Basque separatist organization once they felt free from the pressure of other group members.

Other countries, such as Britain with both Republican and Loyalist paramilitary prisoners in Northern Ireland, keep some inmates separate from the general prison population.

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