The Russian Federation Council approved on Wednesday a presidential law that would provide tougher penalties for recidivist pedophiles, including life imprisonment and chemical castration, RIA Novosti reported.
The draft bill, which tightens punishment for most kinds of sex crimes against minors, was introduced by the Kremlin in October and generated much debate and revision.
The most widely discussed innovation is chemical castration, which is to be introduced into Russia for the first time. The bill in its current form only speaks about “mandatory medical treatment” without elaborating but officials who worked on the draft said it includes both chemical castration and psychiatric drug treatment.
Convicts in other types of sex crimes involving minors will have the option of voluntarily seeking chemical castration when pleading for parole, the bill said. Dodging “mandatory medical treatment” after release on parole will be punishable with one year in jail.
Ombudsman for Children Pavel Astakhov said in 2010 that 98 percent of convicted pedophiles reoffend after release but for those who undergo chemical castration the figure is only 3 percent.
Child abuse skyrocketed in 2010, increasing several times year-on-year for most type of sex crimes, Astakhov said last year. The dismal situation prompted activists to start vigilante groups tracking down pedophiles to report them to police or, in some cases, beat them up without involving the police.
Poland enacted a law in 2009 that would allow forced chemical castration in some circumstances. Portugal and the UK also recently used chemical castration when handing down sentences in sexual abuse cases. Its usefulness when dealing with sexual predators has not yet been proven and is being proposed for the treatment of pedophiles in Europe, the U.S. and 5 other western countries.
In the past, the practice was also applied and not limited to sex offenders. Its most famous victim was British scientist Alan Turing, one of the fathers of computer science, who was forcibly chemically castrated for being gay in 1952. He committed suicide two years later.