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Russian president signs law on plea bargains


MOSCOW, June 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed into law a bill allowing formal plea bargaining, the Kremlin press service said on Monday.

The bill, approved by the lower and upper houses of the Russian parliament on June 5 and 17, respectively, establishes that suspects who cooperate with an investigation may be treated more leniently.

In particular, they may not be sentenced to more than 50% of the statutory prison term for the crime with which they are charged.

The arrangement will not, however, be applied to life sentences.

Furthermore, suspects cooperating with an investigation may be entitled to enter a witness protection program.

According to media reports, the Interior Ministry has provided protection for about 700 witnesses in criminal cases so far this year, even though another 5 million witnesses have faced threats over their testimony.

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