President Vladimir Putin has signed off on tougher anti-terrorism laws ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The laws could oblige relatives to pay for any damage caused by militants fighting a separatist campaign in southern Russia.
The February games will take place around the Black Sea resort of Sochi, a few hundred kilometres from the mountainous North Caucasus region where rebels are fighting to carve out an Islamic state.
Moscow has cracked down on the Islamist insurgency in Dagestan, the epicentre of North Caucasus violence. But a suicide attack on a bus – staged outside the region in Volgograd but blamed on a woman from Dagestan – highlighted the threat to security. The new law, which Putin signed on Saturday, according to documents published yesterday on the Russian authorities’ legal website, introduces prison terms of up to 10 years for undergoing training “aimed at carrying out terrorist activity”.
Activists accuse the authorities of grave human rights violations in the North Caucasus.