New life sentences for high treason in Russia, with Kremlin deciding what constitutes ‘high treason’

19 April, 07:39 PM
Daria Trepova, a suspect in the murder of Russian

Daria Trepova, a suspect in the murder of Russian "warlord" Vladlen Tatarskyi (Photo:REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina)

The Russian parliament's lower chamber, the State Duma, has approved amendments to the country’s Criminal Code to introduce life sentences for those convicted of high treason, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported on April 18.

Russia’s totalitarian regime can now consider anything that diverges from the Kremlin’s ideology to be treason.

Russian courts can now sentence anyone to life imprisonment for espionage, providing foreigners with information designated as a state secret, or defecting to the enemy.

Other examples where one could find themselves in prison for life include providing financial, logistical, consulting, or other assistance to the state whose activities are directed against Russia.

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The Kremlin will decide which activities are considered “against Russia.”

Previously, the maximum penalty Russians faced was up to 20 years in prison with a fine of up to RUB 500,000 ($6,000) for such crimes.

Russian lawmakers voted to strengthen criminal liability for sabotage and terrorism. They will now imprison violators for up to 20 years (formerly 15 years) for these acts.

The State Duma also passed amendments for assisting in the implementation of decisions of international organizations in which Russia does not participate, such as the International Criminal Court, or decisions on criminal prosecution of Russian military personnel or officials.

Penalties for violating these laws include a fine from RUB 300,000 ($3,600) to RUB 1 million ($12,000), or imprisonment for up to five years, in addition to a ban from holding certain positions or engaging in certain activities for a similar term.

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