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Putin signs decree introducing life sentences for treason

Legislators also approve raising the maximum sentence for carrying out 'a terrorist act' to 20 years, from 15 years at present.

Reuters
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Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during а meeting of the Council of Legislators under Russia's Federal Assembly in Saint Petersburg, Russia, April 28. Photo: Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during а meeting of the Council of Legislators under Russia's Federal Assembly in Saint Petersburg, Russia, April 28. Photo: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed a decree formally increasing the maximum sentence for treason to life in jail, part of a drive to suppress dissent since the start of the war in Ukraine.

The decree was posted on the Kremlin website. Lawmakers had already voted to boost the longest sentences for treason to life, up from 20 years.

Legislators also approved raising the maximum sentence for carrying out "a terrorist act" – defined as a deed which endangered lives and was aimed at destabilising Russia – to 20 years, from 15 years at present.

Those found guilty of sabotage could also go to jail for 20 years, up from 15, while people convicted of "international terrorism" could be sentenced to life, up from 12 years. The decree did not explain what "international terrorism" is.

Putin signed the new decree at a time when rights groups say authorities are stepping up efforts to quieten the few voices of opposition that remain.

Russia says such laws are required to protect the country from infiltration by Ukraine and Western intelligence agencies.

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