[JURIST] Russian President Dmitry Medvedev [official website, in Russian; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday proposed [statement, in Russian] amending the country's terrorism legislation in the wake of Monday's twin suicide bombing attacks [Moscow Times report] on Moscow subway stations. In televised remarks, Medvedev said:
We need to focus on improving legislation aimed at preventing acts of terrorism, on the work of various departments charged with investigating such crimes, and on other procedures related to transportation security and safety of people in crowded places. I think we have reason to revisit issues related to the proper administration of justice under terrorist legislation under the terrorism law and related crimes articles - and to talk about the need to improve such practices.
Top Russian officials, including Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin [official website, in Russian; JURIST news archive], and head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Aleksandr Bortnikov have blamed insurgents from the North Caucasus [RFE/RL report] for the subway bombings. Russia's ombudsman for Chechnya Nurdi Nuhazhiyev warned Tuesday that Russia could now experience an increase in ethnic hatred crimes [RIA Novosti report] against people who appear to be from the North Caucasus.
In January, Putin called [transcript, in Russian] for a new age of human rights and safety [JURIST report] in the Caucasus. In October, the UN published a report on reforms Russia must take to protect human rights, highlighting the Caucasus region [JURIST report]. The UN report came less than a week after prominent opposition leader and human rights activist in Russia's southern province of Ingushetia [official website, in Russian], Maksharip Aushev, was shot dead [JURIST report] while traveling on a highway in the North Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkaria.