Putin signs bill giving former Russian presidents lifetime immunity

The new legislation protects former presidents and their families from prosecution for the rest of their lives.

Julia Yeo | December 23, 2020, 05:16 PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin has just signed a bill that will effectively grant former presidents and their families a lifetime of immunity from prosecution for crimes they have committed, once they leave office.

Bill grants ex-presidents lifetime immunity

The bill, published online on Tuesday (Dec. 21), will also exempt them from questioning by the police, as well as searches or arrests, reported The Guardian.

The legislation was part of constitutional amendments approved earlier in July 2020 in a referendum that will allow Putin to remain president until 2036.

Previously, Russia's constitution required Putin to step down after his current six-year term expires in 2024.

Before the new law was in place, former Russian presidents were immune to prosecution only for crimes committed while in office, according to The Guardian.

Additionally, a former president could still have their immunity taken away if they faced accusations of treason or other grave crimes, on the condition that the charges are confirmed by the supreme and constitutional courts.

However, the bill signed by Putin would grant former presidents a seat in Russia's federation council for the rest of their lives, giving them immunity from prosecution upon leaving office.

Dominant power in Russian politics

The 68-year-old president has been the face of Russian politics for the last two decades.

Putin served two presidential terms from 2000 to 2008, previously serving as the Russian Prime Minister from 1999 to 2000.

As he was barred from a third consecutive term after 2008, he was again appointed Prime Minister one day after handing over his presidential seat to Dmitry Medvedev.

In 2012, he was elected as President again, and has been in power since.

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