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