Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law punishing heavy prison sentences for calls to act against Russia’s security, as Moscow suppresses all voices opposing its military offensive in Ukraine.
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Under the new rulings, which were posted Thursday on the text portal signed by Mr Putin, public calls for individuals to act against Russia’s security will now be punished with two to four years in prison. The penalty can be increased to 5 years in the case of appeals broadcast by the media and 7 years if they are presented in an organized group.
He also initialed a text tightening restrictions on individuals and organizations designated as “foreign agents,” a status used to quell criticism of the Kremlin.
Another measure provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison for any Russian citizen who takes part in a dispute in a foreign country that is contrary to Russia’s interests.
Mr. Putin also signed a text that stipulates fines or even prison sentences of up to seven years for anyone with state secrets who travels abroad without prior permission.
These texts are part of a set of provisions adopted by Parliament in recent weeks, and all that is missing is the signature of the head of state to allow them to enter into force.
Since the beginning of the Russian military attack on Ukraine on February 24, the Russian authorities have reinforced the crackdown on critical voices of power, blocking independent media and social networks.
Laws now punish severely with imprisonment for any form of criticism that tarnishes the image of the military.
Several Russians, opponents Ilya Yashin and Vladimir Kara-Murza, as well as ordinary citizens, have already been imprisoned for such reasons awaiting trial.
Alexei Gourinov, an elected official in the Moscow municipality, was sentenced to seven years in prison last week for denouncing the assault on Ukraine.
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