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16 April 2021, 12:37

Belarusian MPs pass bill to amend criminal laws

MINSK, 16 April (BelTA) – Members of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus have passed in the first reading a bill on amending criminal responsibility codes, BelTA has learned.

The bill was prepared to fulfill the instructions the head of state gave at the government conference on new draft codes on administrative responsibility on 18 June 2020, at the government conference on increasing the responsibility for tax crimes on 22 January 2021, and at the government conference on improving the legislation on 28 January 2021. The bill is designed to improve the legislation taking into account the law enforcement practice, the lawmaking experience of other countries, and scientific studies of the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, and the Penal Execution Code.

In particular, the bill criminalizes deliberate illegal disclosure of information about the private life and personal data of another person without the person's consent if the disclosure results in substantial damage to rights, freedoms, and legal interests of the other person. Actions targeting the other person or his or her relatives because the citizen discharges official activities or a public duty are also criminalized. The bill also criminalizes the distribution of information, which distribution is prohibited, by the owner of an Internet resource, which is not registered as an online publication, if the action is committed within one year after an administrative punishment for the same offense. The bill also criminalizes participation in an extremist formation and aiding and abetting extremist activities. The bill also criminalizes multiple violations of the procedure for organizing mass events if the person commits the violations within one year after two administrative punishments for the same actions. The bill also criminalizes failures to execute rulings on recognizing an organization as an extremist one and on suspending the organization's operation.

The document introduces tougher punishments for slander, calls for actions meant to harm national security, deliberate unauthorized copying or interception of computer data or illegal acquisition of computer data if the action entails substantial damage. The document introduces tougher punishments for resisting a law enforcement officer or another person as they protect public order, tougher punishments for violence or the threat of violence against a law enforcement officer or their relatives for the sake of interfering with the officer's legal activities and forcing the officer to change the nature of these activities or due to revenge in response to the officer's official duties. The document introduces tougher punishments for the desecration of state symbols.

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