[JURIST] The lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma [official website], Wednesday gave critical second-reading approval to an expansive anti-terror bill which would grant a broad range of new counter-terrorism powers to law enforcement and the military. The Duma vote on the draft law was 408-1, with five abstentions. If passed, the law will allow the military to shoot down any hijacked passenger plane if the plane is directed at highly populated areas. It will allow law enforcement to use preemptive force to eliminate suspected international terrorists outside the country so long as that is consistent with Russian treaty obligations. The law will also permit officials to conduct phone wire taps, restrict communication, and perform random identity checks. Proposed restrictions on the media during counter-terrorism operations were, however, removed from the draft.
The Duma will vote on the bill again Sunday at third reading, and from there it will proceed to the upper house, the Federation Council, and then on to President Vladimir Putin [official website] for expected approval and signature. MosNews has local coverage. AFP has more.