Russia passes new anti-terrorism laws; up to 7 years in jail for voicing support for terrorism

MOSCOW, July 7 (UPI) — Russia’s new anti-terrorism laws, signed Thursday by Russian President Vladimir Putin, include punishments for organizing “mass unrest” and provide up to seven years in jail for “justification” of terrorism or extremism.

The package of bills, passed in June by both houses of Russia’s parliament, also demands that all “communications operators,” referring to television, radio, phone and Internet companies, keep all voice data, text messages, images, audio and video for three years, and surrender it to Russian security agencies when requested.

The legislation also amends Russia’s criminal code to include “international terrorism” as a crime punishable by life in prison. It also identifies calls for terrorism or its public justification on the Internet as a crime, with imprisonment of five-to-seven years if convicted; specifies punishment for failure to report the preparations for, or the commitment of, terrorist crimes; tightens punishment for organizing an illegal armed formation or participating in it, including abroad, and specifies punishment for inducing or recruiting for “mass unrest.”

When introduced in Russia’s parliament, the proposals provoked concern by citizens and lawmakers over civil liberties and excessive punishment.

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