The Kremlin said late on December 31 that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a bill into law that scraps the right to a jury trial for defendants in cases involving terrorism, insurrection, or other public unrest, AP reported.
Those accused in such cases -- which in addition to terrorism and treason would include armed revolt, sabotage, and rioting -- will instead be tried by a three-judge panel.
Critics say the measure, which won legislative approval
in mid-December, marks a clear retreat from democratic reform
and a return to Soviet practice as an implicit social contract breaks down
It comes amid growing fear of civil unrest
) in Russia as economic woes mount and an effort by lawmakers
to expand the legal definition of treason.