Parliament passed with its third and final reading on June 12 legislative amendments that broaden the scope and range of offences and other activities linked to participation in illegal armed groups.
It also criminalizes traveling abroad and an attempt to go abroad for the purpose of terrorism.
According to the bill, which was first tabled in January and revised since then, “joining and/or participation in an illegal formation or receiving training from such formation; recruiting or training a person with the purpose of joining, participating or otherwise promoting the activities of such illegal formation” will be punishable with imprisonment from 3 to 7 years, instead of initially proposed 5 to 10 years. Public calls for committing these offenses, if this call creates “obvious, direct and substantive threat”, will be punishable with imprisonment for up to 2 years.
It also says that the “dissemination or use of information materials and/or symbols related to membership and/or participation in illegal formation”, if this action creates an “obvious, direct and substantive threat”, will be punishable with up to 3 years in jail.
The bill specifies that the measures should be applied in connection to those armed formations that are not controlled by state structures. Officials say that this provision was added in order to make it more explicit that the bill will not apply to Georgian citizens fighting on the Ukrainian side in eastern Ukraine.
The bill introduces a new clause that makes going abroad or attempting to go abroad “for the purpose of carrying out, preparing of and participating in terrorist activities or for the purpose of terrorist training” punishable by 6 to 9 years imprisonment.
The bill also envisages the criminalization of calls for terrorism or voicing public support for terrorism if such calls create “obvious, direct and substantive threat of carry out terrorism activities.”
The same package of amendments also criminalizes “calls for violent actions” that aim to cause “discord between racial, religious, national, ethnic, social, linguistic or other groups” in the event of such calls creating an “obvious, direct and substantive threat.”