Russian Lawmaker Proposes Tougher Sentences For Terrorism, Treason


Russian legislators have proposed amendments to the Criminal Code to toughen sentences for people convicted of terrorism and high treason.

The amendments were announced on April 7 by Vasily Piskaryov, the chairman of the Committee on Security and Anti-Corruption of the State Duma.

If the draft amendments are accepted, the sentence for people convicted of treason would be life imprisonment, while the maximum prison term for committing a terrorist attack would rise from 15 years to 20 years. A terrorist act is defined as a deed which endangers lives and is aimed at destabilizing Russia.

The proposed amendments come a day after Russian prosecutors requested a 25-year prison sentence for opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza, who is on trial on charges including treason. The prosecution of Kara-Murza, who was detained in April 2022 after returning to Russia from abroad, is the latest amid a Kremlin crackdown on dissent and civil society since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Piskaryov was quoted earlier this week by the state-controlled TASS news agency as saying the tougher measures were needed for protection against what he claimed were unprecedented threats that Russia faces from Ukraine and its Western backers amid Moscow's ongoing unprovoked invasion of its smaller neighbor.

Piskaryov said the deputies will not introduce a new bill but supplement another measure that has already passed the first reading and is being prepared for its second reading. According to Piskaryov, this will make it possible to consider the amendments promptly.

The changes would also raise the minimum sentences for assisting in promoting terrorist activities from five to seven years and for aiding in terrorist activities from 10 to 12 years. The maximum sentence for those crimes is 15 and 20 years respectively.

For the crime of organizing a terrorist community the sentence will rise from 10 to 15 years from the current five to 10 years, and for sabotage the sentence will rise to 20 years, up from the current 15 years.

With reporting by Reuters