Russia lower house passes bill authorizing anti-terror action abroad

Russia lower house passes bill authorizing anti-terror action abroad

[JURIST] The Russian Duma [official website, in Russian], the lower house of parliament, overwhelmingly passed a draft law Wednesday that would give Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website, English version] the right to use Russia's armed forces and secret services abroad for counterterrorism measures. Putin asked parliament for greater counterterrorism powers last week after five Russian diplomats were abducted and murdered [BBC report] in Iraq, prompting him to order special forces to find those responsible [Itar-Tass report] and offer a $10 million reward for information leading to their capture.

The bill would forbid mass media from publishing information about the methods of counterterrorism operations, as well as information that threatens lives and health during those operations. It would also allow Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) [official website, in Russian; Wikipedia backgrounder] to carry out counterterrorism efforts outside Russia, giving it the authority to defend Russian laws anywhere, and would permit Russian law enforcement to confiscate property belonging to terrorists. The bill now goes to the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council [official website], and if passed will require Putin's signature to become law. RIA Novosti has more. BBC News has additional coverage.