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Foreigners suspected of aiding terrorists set to be barred from entering Russia

Any foreigner suspected of aiding terrorist or extremist groups will be banned from entering Russia,..

Any foreigner suspected of aiding terrorist or extremist groups will be banned from entering Russia, according to a new bill prepared by lawmakers representing parliamentary majority party United Russia.

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The draft amends the existing Russian law on entering and exiting the country that lists five reasons that could lead to an entry ban for a foreigner. These are: violation of border crossing rules, knowingly providing false information about oneself, repeated civil offenses, exceeding the allowed term of stay on Russian territory, and participation in a foreign or international NGO that is recognized as undesirable in Russia.

Once passed into law, the ban would apply to foreign citizens whose bank accounts have been frozen over suspicion of participation in money laundering or any activities of foreign and international terrorist and extremist organizations.

It also allows for further extension of the list on the basis of data provided by the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Justice Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Investigation Committee – Russia’s federal agency for dealing with serious crime.

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The Russian State Duma on Okhotny Ryad Street, Moscow. © Natalia Seliverstova

The bill has already been approved by the government commission for legislative work, Izvestia daily reported on Tuesday. However, cabinet experts recommended that some changes be made to the draft. In particular, they want to ban people who are known participants of any terrorist and extremist groups and who are on the list made by the Russian Financial Monitoring Agency and approved by the Inter-Department Commission for Countering the Financing of Terrorism.

This allows Russian border guards to prevent foreigners from entering the country even before a court orders a freeze on their bank accounts.

In late 2014, a group of MPs representing United Russia drafted a bill that would allow parliament to ban foreigners from entering the country if they are deemed a threat to Russia’s security or its values. The formula used in the draft allows either chamber of the Russian parliament to issue entry bans for foreign citizens who either threaten national interests or “infringe upon the interests of a person, society or state as well as the national, historic, spiritual culture or any other values that are commonly recognized in Russia.”

This bill was approved by the lower house Committee for Legislative Work about a year ago but has not been passed yet.

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