24 Oct 2012

Russia to broaden definition of high treason

9:33 pm on 24 October 2012

Russia's parliament has voted to widen the definition of high treason in a move critics say is a further attempt to stifle dissent in the country.

Under the proposed new law, high treason and espionage will include supporting those seeking to damage Russia's security.

Under current law, high treason refers to passing secret information to foreign governments.

The new bill, once signed by President Vladimir Putin, will apply to international organisations also - but after that the wording of the bill gets complicated, the BBC reports.

It says any person passing financial or technical information to someone who is intent on damaging Russian security or state integrity will face a jail term.

Critics say this broad, loose wording of the bill might make it easier to criminalise the sharing of information with human rights groups like Amnesty International.