AFP – Police faced with hostage crises should have legal authority to seize family members of the hostage-takers themselves in response, Russia’s top legal official says.
“Who lives by the sword dies by the sword. We should not engage in diplomacy,” Russian prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov told the State Duma.
“I think that if they [hostage takers] commit such inhuman acts, it would be justified to take in their relatives for questioning and show that we too can do the same to them.
“This can help us save people.”
General Ustinov calls for new legislation providing for “a simplified judicial procedure, the hostage taking directed at hostage takers, the use of infiltrated agents, the protection of witnesses” and of people infiltrated into terrorist groups.
He also suggests that financial rewards be offered in exchange for information on hostage takers, stressing that these exceptional measures would apply only to hostage takings.
Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov says the chamber would examine General Ustinov’s proposal if it is presented as an amendment to existing law.
He says that relatives of hostage takers currently take part in negotiations only on a voluntary basis.
However, General Ustinov’s proposal has drawn stinging criticism from the deputy speaker of the Duma, Lyubov Sliska.
Mr Sliska calls the proposal “barbarian” and suggests that General Ustinov quit his job as prosecutor general.
“Each one of us can become a hostage of the proposals made by Mr Ustinov,” Mr Sliska said.
“In every family there are people at odds with the law, and everybody should not be answerable for one person.
“This is not a method to fight terrorism.
“Mr Ustinov should make more civilised proposals or else ask himself whether he should remain prosecutor general or switch to another organ.”
General Ustinov’s proposals come on the heels of a series of measures to hike up security in the country following the Beslan hostage tragedy, which killed at least 344 people, half of them children.