Russia's Putin signs law extending definition of treason

MOSCOW Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:52pm IST

Russia's President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on the development of the Russian pensionary system at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, November 14, 2012. REUTERS/Aleksey Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Pool

Russia's President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on the development of the Russian pensionary system at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, November 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Aleksey Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Pool

Related Topics

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law broadening the definition of treason which opponents say could be used to smother dissent and put almost anyone who has contact with foreigners at risk.

The law allows Russians representing international organisations to be charged with treason, as well as those working for foreign intelligence. It took effect on Wednesday when it was published in the official gazette, despite a promise by Putin on Monday that he would review it.

Political opponents and rights activists say the legislation is the latest in a series of laws intended to crack down on the opposition and reduce foreign influence since he returned to the Kremlin in May for a six-year third term.

"Citizens recruited by international organisations acting against the country's interests will also be considered traitors", the official gazette, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, said in a commentary on its website.

The maximum sentence for high treason remains 20 years.

At a meeting of his human rights council on Monday, Putin listened to a retired Constitutional Court judge's concerns about the legislation, which she said did not require authorities to prove a suspect damaged state security.

Putin indicated at the meeting that he would move cautiously and that the legislation had been scrutinised closely as it passed through parliament. But he also said "nonetheless, I am ready to return to this again, to look more attentively."

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the president had signed the legislation on Tuesday although the Kremlin had not made a formal announcement.

Russian officials have said the law is needed to help prevent foreign governments using organisations in Russia to gather state secrets. (Reporting by Nastassia Astrasheuskaya, Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

SCOTLAND REFERENDUM

Reuters Showcase

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola lockdown brings Sierra Leone capital to a halt.  Full Article 

New Start

New Start

Sarkozy returns to politics, offers France new start.  Full Article 

Attacks Feared

Attacks Feared

Australian PM cites "chatter" of attacks on government, parliament.  Full Article 

Looming Famine

Looming Famine

Three years after Somali famine, new hunger crisis looms.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine president secures U.S. military aid but not weapons.  Full Article 

Not United States

Not United States

Angry with Washington, 1 in 4 Americans open to secession.  Full Article 

Blame The Devil

Blame The Devil

For followers of Nigeria's "Prophet", building collapse was "Satan's work".  Full Article 

Condemning Militancy

Condemning Militancy

German Muslims condemn Islamic State in nationwide day of prayer.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage