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Human rights activists hail Medvedev's decision on treason, espionage amendments

MOSCOW. Jan 27 (Interfax) - Leaders of Russian non-governmental organizations have supported the Russian president's decision to additionally work out changes to the laws concerning state secrets, treason and espionage.

"The president has heeded to the opinion of the civil society. I think that this is a landmark and pivotal moment," Lev Ponomaryov of the For Human Rights movement told Interfax.

The Russian president's decision to complete the amendments was also supported by other human rights activists.

"My first reaction: I am pleasantly surprised. That means there is feedback. My second reaction: we will see how it is going to work, but on the surface it is a reassuring decision," Oleg Orlov, head of the Memorial Center, told Interfax.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev commissioned his administration to additionally work out the amendments to the sections of the Penal and the Criminal Procedural Code, concerning state secrets, treason and espionage.

Vladislav Surkov, first deputy chief of the Russian presidential administration, told journalists on Tuesday: "There might be a risk of extended interpretation of the notions 'state secret,' 'treason' and 'espionage'."