Russian Parliament toughens punishment for spreading fake news about the army

Russian Parliament approves law about 15 years in jail for fake news about army

Against the background of the crisis in Ukraine, Russian MPs gave the third and final reading to the laws on tougher punishment for calls for the imposition of sanctions against Russia, for spreading fake news about the Russian Armed Forces. The MPs also expanded the Dima Yakovlev law, TASS reports.

The new law stipulates a prison term of 15 years for spreading fake news about the Russian military and the army.

The dissemination of knowingly false information about the Russian Armed Forces under the guise of reliable reports is punishable by a fine of 700,000 rubles ($6,400) to 1.5 million rubles ($13,600) or imprisonment for up to three years.

In the event it is established that such fake news was spread by officials or a group of individuals, who created artificial evidence to substantiate their point of view, the punishment for such offences will vary from five to ten years in prison.

In the event that deliberately false information has led to grave consequences, a punishment from ten to fifteen years in prison is provided.

The amendments supplementing the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation with the article "Calls for the introduction of restrictive measures against the Russian Federation, citizens of the Russian Federation or Russian legal entities” were adopted on March 4, 2022 and given second and third readings immediately.

According to the new law, calls for sanctions against Russia are punishable with a fine of up to 500,000 rubles ($4,560), compulsory labor for up to three years, arrest for up to six months, and imprisonment for up to three years with a possible fine of up to 200,000 rubles ($1,820).

Russian citizens, who earlier during the year called for sanctions against Russia and were brought to administrative responsibility for similar offenses, will be punished with a prison term of three years.

Dima Yakovlev law expanded

The so-called Dima Yakovlev law was named so in memory of the two-year-old Russian boy of the same name, who died in a hot car after his adoptive American father locked him up there for nine hours in the sun.

The law was approved as Russia's response to the Magnitsky Act, which imposed visa sanctions on the Russians involved in human rights violations, as US officials claimed.

The Russian law applies to US citizens who violated Russian citizens' rights or were involved in crimes against them. Such American citizens are banned from entering Russia, the activities of legal entities that they control are suspended.

The law led to the closure of US adoptive agencies in Russia and denounced the bilateral agreement on the adoption of minors.

The Dima Yakovlev law now bars not only US citizens, but also all foreigners and stateless persons involved in violations of "fundamental human rights and freedoms” or crimes against Russians abroad from entering the territory of the Russian Federation.

The new restrictive measures, inter alia, also provide for the arrest of financial and other assets in Russia, and ban transactions with property and investments.

Yet, the law does not expand restrictions on non-profit organizations (NPOs) participating in political activities in Russia, nor does it affect the adoption of children by families abroad.

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