Tipping back a few adult beverages might just be an unassailable right. A member of Russia's Presidential Human Rights Council has not taken kindly to a new Russian bill -- set for a final reading Friday -- that proposes to jail or fine people for public drunkenness. The council member called the law a violation human rights, according to the Moscow Times.
The new bill would allow for penalties ranging from a 5,000-rubles ($100) fine to a 15-day jail sentence if a person appears drunk and refuses a test for blood alcohol content levels. Human rights advocates worry that the law would allow for excessive police power and could spark corrupt practices.
"Lawmakers are trying to create a new form of administrative offense, consisting of a whiff of alcoholic drinks coming from a person from the point of view of those who detain that person," Tatyana Morshchakova, a member of the presidential human rights council, told Russian News Service, according to the Moscow Times. "A citizen's rights would be violated in this case 100 percent, because in the absence of a clear definition of an offense, the despotism of those who order penalties increases on a progressive scale."
The Presidential Human Rights Council is a body that consults with President Vladimir Putin to assist "in the exercise of his constitutional responsibilities to guarantee and protect human rights and freedoms," according to the Kremlin's website.
Irina Yarovaya, the bill's lead author and head of the parliamentary security committee, said that the only people tested would be those who showed "sufficient grounds to presume" that they had consumed alcohol in public areas where drinking was banned, RBC reported via the Moscow Times. Yarovaya reportedly did not expand on how police would be able to determine who had been consuming alcohol illegally and who had not.
Morschakova pointed out that the law could simply be a veiled attempt at banning drinking. "There have been cases in history when alcohol consumption was banned, and I believe it did not lead to anything good," she told Russian News Services, according to the Moscow Times.
Russia does have its share of problems related to drinking, however. More than 30 percent of deaths in the country in 2012 were attributable to alcohol, Quartz reported last week.