MOSCOW – Russia’s lower house of parliament passed on Wednesday new legislation that aims to increase the maximum jail term for telephoned-in false alarms up to 10-years, officials said.
The law would apply to any individual that falsely and knowingly informs by telephone of acts of terror, explosions, acts of arson, or any other action that involve killing people, Pavel Krasheninnikov, head of the Duma’s (lower chamber of parliament) legislative Committee said.
The new law, called “False report about an act of terrorism,” upgrades previous legislation from the 1996 Criminal Code of the Russian Federation which provided for a five-year prison sentence to punish such acts.
The new bill foresees that any individual claiming “false acts of terrorism or impending explosions” can now be handed a “six to eight-year prison sentence” and up to a million rubles fine (around $17,000).
Krasheninnikov said any false alarm about a bomb or terror attack alert was, in essence, “a terrorist act.”
He added that, “Since Nov. 9, this country has been subject to a wave of terrorist phone hoaxes affecting over 160 Russian cities and forcing the evacuation of over 10 million people.”
In the event that a false bomb alert results in the death of one or more persons, inflicts sizable damage to property or entails other socially hazardous consequences, the punishment will now result in an eight to 10-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of two million rubles (around $34,000).
Krasheninnikov focused on the need to harden legislation as some false alarms resulted in the death of urgently evacuated hospital patients.