Russia mulls 'chemical castration' for child sex crime

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, 10 May 2011
Image caption Dmitry Medvedev said it was a duty for the government to discuss the issue

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said his country should consider voluntary "chemical castration" as a punishment for child sex offenders.

Mr Medvedev said convicted paedophiles should be punished as harshly as possible, including by having injections to reduce their sex drive.

Russia's influential Investigative Committee has already drawn up a draft law allowing for such a procedure.

But it is the first time the Kremlin has indicated its backing.

The process known as chemical castration generally involves injections that reduce levels of testosterone, thereby lowering sex drive. It is not a permanent procedure.

'Voluntary basis'

Mr Medvedev was quoted as saying at a government meeting that measures "including injections that block hormonal activity" should be considered for child molesters.

"The punishment should be as strict as possible," the Russian president said.

"Considering the frightening crimes committed, I think our duty is to at least discuss this issue."

He added that the injections would "probably be possible only on a voluntary basis".

The BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Moscow says Mr Medvedev's suggestion received widespread support, though some Russian politicians have suggested making chemical castration mandatory.

More than 9,500 sex crimes were committed against minors last year, according to Russia's top investigator, Alexander Bastrykin.

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