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Updated Apr 18, 2023, 10:48am EDT
securityEurope

Russia toughens laws to silence critics

Russian State Duma/Handout
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The News

Lawmakers in Moscow toughened legislation for criminal charges used to crack down on critics, in what appears to be a response to the International Criminal Court issuing an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin.

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Know More

On Tuesday, the Duma, the lower house of the country’s parliament, passed a bill that would punish those who assist foreign organizations that Russia’s not part of in “executing” decisions.

The Duma also passed a bill that would allow for a possible life sentence for high treason.

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The move comes a day after journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza, one of Putin’s most vocal critics, was found guilty of treason and handed a 25-year prison sentence for speaking out against Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

According to the BBC, the sentence is the longest a Putin critic has received since the start of the conflict.

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Step Back

The amendments in Russia’s legislation are also taking place against the backdrop of another high-profile arrest.

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U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich, who was charged with spying during a reporting trip in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, is currently in pre-trial detention in Moscow. His appeal for bail was rejected on Tuesday.

If convicted of espionage under the former legislation, Gershkovich could face up to 20 years in prison.

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