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Today in legal history...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Russian president signed bill expanding secret police powers
Dwyer Arce at 12:00 AM ET

On July 29, 2010, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a bill granting additional powers to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the Russian Federation's successor to the former USSR's KGB. The bill, which the Russian parliament approved earlier that month, gave the FSB authority to question citizens about actions that may create the conditions for a crime and issue warnings not to engage in unapproved acts. Noncompliance may be punishable by fine or up to 15 days in prison. The KGB had similar authority to engage in preemptive questioning, a power that was often used to intimidate dissidents in the USSR. Rights groups and members of the Russian legal community condemned the law, arguing that it allowed arbitrary detentions.

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