Vladimir Putin has signed through a new anti-terror law allowing members of the security forces to open fire on women and children, according to Russian media reports.
State-linked Sputnik International described the amendment to rules governing the use of force by the Federal Security Service (FSB) as outlining “when weapons may be used, first and foremost, when protecting the lives or health of individuals”.
It reported that intelligence agents would be permitted to take fingerprints on state borders and carry out searches of any property if there are suspicions of terror activity.
And the FSB’s agents can now open fire in crowds if doing so will “prevent acts of terrorism, rescue hostages, or repel attacks on public buildings”.
The amendment to the law reportedly included 11 scenarios in which the use of weapons by intelligence forces would be permitted.
It included the right to shoot women, the disabled and minors “in case of armed resistance” and, according to Ekho Moskvy radio, the use of nonlethal weapons on pregnant women.
The change to the law was reportedly strongly opposed by Putin’s own Presidential Human Rights Council, an advisory panel made up of NGO chiefs and activists.