(Moscow) Russian lawmakers voted on Tuesday a series of amendments increasing the penalties under the legislation used to suppress opponents, including establishing life for “high treason”.
The Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, validated in second and third readings these texts also planning to punish those who “help to implement the decisions of international organizations” that Russia does not recognize.
Those violating this provision, which appears to target the International Criminal Court (ICC), which issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin in March, or assisting “foreign government agencies” will face up to five years in prison.
According to the Russian rights organization OVD-Info, the “very broad” article could also target those who “facilitate the execution of judicial decisions and the investigation of war crimes”, after the troops Russians have been accused of multiple atrocities in Ukraine.
The maximum penalty for “high treason” is increased from 20 years in prison to life.
A Russian court on Monday sentenced opponent Vladimir Kara-Mourza to 25 years in prison, including for “high treason”, after a closed trial.
The amendments adopted on Tuesday also increase the penalties for crimes linked to terrorism, sometimes invoked to suppress the opposition.
A terrorist attack is now punishable by up to 20 years in prison, complicity by up to 12 years and support for terrorist activities by up to five. The creation of a terrorist organization is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and sabotage by up to 20 years.
Imprisoned anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny was added to the government’s list of “terrorists and extremists” in January 2022.
Since the outbreak of the offensive in Ukraine more than a year ago, the Russian authorities have been carrying out an all-out crackdown on critical voices. Almost all of the major opponents are currently behind bars or in exile abroad.
Authorities have recently said they are seeing an upsurge in “terrorist” acts or sabotage.