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Duma Bill Restricting Foreign Travel for Russians Passes First Reading

The Russian State Duma, Russia's lower chamber of parliament, approved in the first reading a package of bills aimed at tightening restrictions on Russian citizens suspected of terrorist and extremist activities, the Meduza news agency reported Friday.

Among other measures, the amendment to the country's anti-terrorism law suggests the introduction of additional restrictions for Russians traveling outside the Russian Federation.

Russian citizens who receive a warning from the Federal Security Service (FSB) on suspicion of committing terrorist or extremist crimes, such as armed rebellion or an attempted murder of a statesman, must be restricted from leaving the country, the bill reads.

According to the bill, the restriction on travel would remain in place for five years.

The bill's authors, United Russia party member Irina Yarovaya and Federation Council member Viktor Ozerov, also suggested the addition of new articles on international terrorism to the Criminal Code and to introduce new penalties of up to life imprisonment for promoting terrorism and extremist activities.

Those who conceal the preparation of terrorist acts, armed rebellions or hostage-taking should also be punished with forced labor or imprisonment for up to three years, according to the amendment.

Another part of the bill, obligating mobile operators to store the "voice and text messages, images and sounds," of users for three years and provide them to the special services when requested, was criticized by the government in the review, but remained unchanged by the time of the first reading, Meduza reported.

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