MOSCOW, September 7 (RAPSI) – Russian lawmakers have filed a bill, introducing criminal liability for physical abuse against debtors and their families by debt collectors, to the State Duma, RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday.

According to the bill, such actions would be punished with a sentence that may reach up to 20 years in prison. Criminal liability is also proposed for violations against underage and inflicting death of a person.

"This legislative initiative is aimed at protection of the rights and interests of citizens, to prevent cases of abuse of power on the part of people carrying out debt collection service," a supplementary note for the bill reads.

Debt collection that involves spreading defaming information about debtors or members of their family is proposed to be punishable by a prison sentence that may reach up to 4 years in prison. Similar actions carried out by a group of people are proposed to be punished by 8 years in prison.

Same sentence term is proposed for harming property of a debtor. Debt collection involving violence or threat of violence against debtors and their families is proposed to be punished by 12 years in prison.

The bill was prepared by “Just Russia” party lawmakers Sergei Mironov and Oleg Nilov.

In January, a Molotov cocktail was thrown into the window of a wooden house in the Russian city of Ulyanovsk. A 2-year-old child was badly burned and sent to a hospital. The boy was saved by his grandfather, who also received injuries in the fire. The bomb was allegedly thrown by a collector seeking repayment of a debt. Shortly after the incident, a man was arrested and later charged with an attempted murder.

In late March, another incident took place in the Novosibirsk Region. Unknown persons, allegedly the collectors, broke into the debtor’s apartment. The woman became a victim of sexual violence; her minor child and husband were beaten.

From January to June 2015, about 22,000 complaints were filed by Russian citizens against unlawful acts committed by would-be collectors, former Human Rights Commissioner Ella Panfilova said earlier citing by the Interior Ministry’s information.