Legislation is moving forward in Russia that would send repeat child sex offenders to Arctic penal colonies in Siberia.
The proposed law began to gain traction last month, but it has even more support now after the rape and murder of a five-year-old girl in Kostroma, Russia.
Duma chairman Vyacheslav Volodin, a close ally of Russian President Vladmir Putin, called the girl's murder "a terrible tragedy" on his Telegram Wednesday.
"We will do everything so that the law on life imprisonment for pedophiles is passed in January. Society supports the most severe measures against those who were previously convicted of child abuse. But many are convinced that this is not enough," Volodin wrote.
Child sex criminals "must serve life sentences in the most severe conditions" working in mines in the freezing Russian north, Volodin said, adding that the criminals would "have to work hard to earn their own living, every day to remember the atrocities committed, to regret it."
Veronika Nikolayeva, 5, was playing near her mother's work when she was allegedly kidnapped by Vadim Belyakov, 24 and his lover Denis Gerasimov, 44, the latter of whom had previously been jailed for child-sex offenses including producing child pornography, The Daily Mail states. The girl was apparently raped before being killed and her body was found on January 4. The men reportedly confessed to her murder on video.
Currently, repeat offenders in Russia who target children under 14 are sentenced to 15 years to life in prison, RT reports.
The proposed legislation expands the definition of a minor to children under 18 and introduces heavier penalties, such as giving life sentences to repeat offenders who have previously been found guilty of sexually assaulting minors. A life sentence would also be given to those convicted of sexually assaulting two or more minors and for cases in which the assault includes murder, grievous bodily harm or another serious crime.
"A life sentence is a just measure to isolate the degenerates," Volodin said in December. "They cannot be called humans, although they are in human form. We hope that this measure will protect children, families, and society as a whole from those who cause irreparable harm."