Russian senators pass controversial security bill

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The Russian parliament's upper house on Monday overwhelmingly backed a bill to expand the powers of the successor to the Soviet-era KGB security service.

The bill, criticised by rights groups, would allow the Federal Security Service (FSB) to issue official warnings to individuals whose actions are deemed to be creating the conditions for crime.

To become law, the bill should now be signed off on by President Dmitry Medvedev, who has said the bill was drawn up on his instructions to improve existing legislation.

The parliament's lower house, the State Duma, passed the bill on its third and final reading last Friday.

Rights groups say the bill, which would essentially put the special service above the law, harks back to Soviet times when the much-feared FSB predecessor KGB used warnings to persecute dissidents.

© 2010 AFP

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