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Russian parliament sets anti-terror priorities

| Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2004

MOSCOW -- Stricter penalties for people who help terrorists and for officials whose negligence aids attacks are priorities for the upper house of parliament's new anti-terror measures, Russian officials said Tuesday.

The Kremlin-controlled Federation Council is expected to meet Sept. 29 to consider anti-terror legislation in response to a series of dramatic attacks in Russia that have killed more than 430 people in the past month.

Viktor Ozerov, the head of the council's defense and security affairs committee, said about 40 anti-terrorism bills are in the works.

Some bills call for the reintroduction of the death penalty for terror attacks. Russia has maintained a moratorium on executions since 1996, an obligation it assumed after joining the Council of Europe.

Ozerov pointed at the example of the United States, where the death penalty is legal. "The United States doesn't look for anyone's guidance on issues relating to its security," he said at a news conference.

Other proposals include streamlining law enforcement and conducting an inventory of the nation's arms arsenals, Ozerov said.

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