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Russia passes tough penalties for ‘lies’ about its action abroad

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Russian deputies validated on Tuesday a law providing for heavy sanctions to punish “false information” on Moscow’s action abroad, a new repressive weapon in the Russian arsenal for controlling information on its offensive in Ukraine. Since February 24, Russia has refused to speak of “war”.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24, Russia has tried to explain that it is a “military operation aimed at disarming Ukraine”. This Tuesday, March 22, Russian deputies validated a law heavily condemning “false information”. This law completes the one adopted at the beginning of March which provides for up to 15 years in prison for the publication of “false information” on the Russian army.

This text, adopted at third reading, punishes the “public dissemination of knowingly false information under the guise of reliable information” about the “activities of Russian state bodies outside Russian territory”, according to a press release from Parliament.

Up to three years in prison

It provides for penalties of up to three years in prison, raised to five years if it is a group activity, “abuse of official position”, “artificial creation of evidence” or if the act is “motivated by political, ideological, racial, national or religious hatred or enmity”. The expected penalty increases to 15 years in prison if the “false information” has “resulted in serious consequences”.

The bill, which still needs to be signed by President Vladimir Putin to enter into force, also includes penalties of up to five years in prison for “public actions aimed at discrediting the exercise of their powers by state bodies.” ‘Russian state outside the territory’.

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Social networks described as “extremist”

Since the start of its offensive in Ukraine on February 24, Russia has banned many local and foreign media, as well as social networks Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The American group Meta has been classified as “extremist”.

At least three people, who had published messages against the conflict on the internet, are already being prosecuted for this reason.

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