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Iran Press TV

Russia moves to grant former presidents lifetime immunity from prosecution

Iran Press TV

Friday, 06 November 2020 7:40 AM

Russian lawmakers have introduced a bill to parliament that would grant former presidents lifetime immunity from criminal prosecution under the country's constitutional reforms.

The Russian news agency Interfax reported on Thursday that the draft bill would give a former president immunity from criminal prosecution for any offenses committed during his lifetime after he leaves office.

A parliamentary working group assessing President Vladimir Putin's constitutional reforms proposed the legislation earlier this year to extend presidential immunity beyond their terms of office.

"The bill secures immunity guarantees for ex-presidents beyond the terms of their presidential powers," Interfax quoted Senator Andrei Klishas, the group's co-chair, as telling reporters.

"This expands the timeframe of immunity guarantees for a president who stops exercising their powers," added Klishas, who chairs the upper-house Federation Council's Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building.

The draft bill also grants both chambers of the Russian parliament the power to revoke the ex-presidents' immunity by a two-thirds majority within three months if they are accused of high treason or other felonies.

The latest legislation comes a week after Putin submitted another bill under his constitutional reforms that would entitle a former president to a lifetime seat as a senator in Russia's Federation Council — a position that also comes with immunity from prosecution.

Former presidents already enjoy lifetime immunity for crimes committed in office under legislation adopted after Russia's first post-Soviet president, Boris Yeltsin, handed the reins of power to Putin at the turn of the century.

The new bill is one of several being introduced following constitutional amendments that "reset" Putin's term limits, allowing him to potentially run twice more for president and remain in office until 2036, when he would be 84.

Putin has ruled Russia, mostly as president, since 2000.

The new legislation will need to pass three readings in the lower house, then the upper house, before being signed by Putin to enter into law.

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