Ilya Ponomaryov, a member of the A Just Russia faction of the State Duma, said he does not regret his words, for which he may lose the right to speak in the State Duma for a month.
When asked by journalists after the meeting of the parliamentary committee on ethical issues whether he will use the words he will likely be punished for again, Ponomaryov said: "Yes, I will use it to describe people who are swindlers and thieves."
Ponomaryov said he had been asked by the parliamentary committee on ethics issues to say whom precisely he considers to be swindlers and thieves. "We name the people who we consider to be swindlers and thieves, and we publish materials on them in our blogs with our colleague Dmitry Gudkov, showing clearly, using documents, why we believe their actions breach the Russian legislation," Ponomaryov said.
Earlier on Monday, the State Duma committee on ethics issues recommended that the house deprive A Just Russia's Ilya Ponomaryov of the right to speak in the State Duma for a month over his harsh statement made at the last plenary meeting held in the State Duma in the spring 2012 session. In that meeting, which addressed the toughening of liability for slander, Ponomaryov called on "swindlers and thieves not to vote for that law." He did not specify who he considered "swindlers and thieves."
On Monday, Ponomaryov told reporters why he had said that. "When I said 'swindlers and thieves,' I did not mean anyone specifically, but commented on the phrase said by Mr. [United Russia faction member Alexander] Khinshtein, who said directly that the law on slander was being adopted to prevent people like Navalny from using the words 'swindlers and thieves' about us, honest deputies. Consequently, I called on all swindlers and thieves not to vote for that document," Ponomaryov said.
"I believe those words were perfectly fine and we will learn the names of those who think they refer to them today," Ponomaryov said.
Ponomaryov also said members of the Liberal Democratic Party had accused him of contempt of the parliament because he wears jeans to the State Duma.
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