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Russian court official warns extremism law could be used against businesses

Moscow, 12 July: The Russian government's representative to the higher courts and chairman of the supreme council of the Civil Force party Mikhail Barshchevskiy has made a number of criticisms about laws that have recently been passed by the State Duma and approved by the Federation Council.

In particular, he believes that there were a number of defects in both the law to increase punishment for violating road safety requirements and the law on the fight against extremism. [Passage omitted]

Regarding the law on the fight against extremism, Barshchevskiy generally agreed that it was necessary, but he nonetheless pointed out that some of its clauses give the law-enforcement agencies the opportunity to interfere in areas that are completely unrelated to extremism.

"The thing is that extremism has been classified as a crime of mid-severity, and now telephone tapping of people suspected of extremist activity will be permitted. Yet at the same time, almost all crimes are classed as being of mid-severity, including economic crimes. So now, in essence, the law-enforcement agencies will be able to use legal phone tapping to fight business competitors," said Barshchevskiy.

However, he said that he believed it would not be difficult to resolve this situation.