Russia's Tough Treason Law Now in Effect

Putin promised to review bill 2 days ago, signed it instead

By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 14, 2012 8:26 AM CST

(Newser) – An ever-benevolent Vladimir Putin listened to fears surrounding a vaguely worded treason bill on Monday, ultimately promising to proceed with caution and "return to this again, to look more attentively." The next day, he just signed it, reports Reuters. The ruling expands the definition of treason to include giving financial or consultative support to foreign countries or groups, reports the AP. Rights activists fear the law, which carries a possible 20-year prison sentence, could brand even mild dissenters as traitors. Another tough aspect of it: an 8-year prison sentence for accessing state secrets—even if they're not passed to foreign hands.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with members of the Presidential Human Rights Council in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Nov. 12, 2012.   (Yuri Kochetkov)
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during a meeting with members of the Presidential Human Rights Council in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Nov. 12, 2012.   (Yuri Kochetkov)
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