Kremlin human rights activist wants end to 'outrageous' bills
MOSCOW, July 17 - RAPSI. The State Duma received a letter from Presidential Human Rights Council Chairman Mikhail Fedotov, requesting to suspend the adoption of the law on non-profit organizations, on the Criminal Code's defamation article and on the website blacklist. The letter will be read at the plenary meeting on July 18, Senator Lyudmila Narusova told RIA Novosti.
Last week, the State Duma adopted three high-profile laws on granting the "foreign agent" status to non-profit organizations financed from abroad and engaged in politics, on returning the defamation article to the Criminal Code and on establishing a single registry of domains and websites with unlawful content.
The Federation Council scheduled their consideration for July 18.
The "foreign agents" will be entered into a special registry and various legal regulations will be applied to them, which will not affect ordinary non-profit organizations.
The regulations will stipulate specific accountability and checks.
The registry of domains and websites with illegal content will be established as of November. It will include websites with information harmful for children, especially child pornography or information promoting suicide or drugs.
The Internet community reacted negatively to the bill, fearing government censorship. Wikipedia also staged a protest, temporarily shutting down its Russian segment on Tuesday.
As for the Criminal Code's defamation article, the deputies removed custodial punishment from the amendments, but significantly raised the fines up to 5 million rubles ($153,000).
Slander or libel in a public speech, a public work, or the media will no longer carry a 200,000 ruble ($6,000) fine, but rather a fine of up to 1 million rubles ($30,500).
Defamation combined with abuse of office will be punished by up to 2 million rubles ($61,000) instead of 300,000 rubles ($9,000).
Defamation in conjunction with accusations of a grave crime may entail a maximum 5 million ruble ($153,000) fine, which is 10 times higher than the sum previously proposed.
The amendments will also add an article to the Criminal Code stipulating a fine of up to 2 million rubles ($61,000) for slander against a judge, a jury member, a prosecutor, an investigator or a bailiff during court proceedings.