PACKAGE OF "ANTI-TERRORISM LAWS" PROHIBITING EVANGELISM SPECIFICALLY OUTSIDE CHURCHES, SIGNED BY PUTIN
Portal-credo.ru, 7 July 2016
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed on 7 July the so-called "Yarovaya package," several laws adopted earlier by the State Duma and approved by the Federation Council of the RF, RIA Novosti reports. The laws, one of whose authors was Deputy Irina Yarovaya, substantially toughen criminal accountability for a number of crimes and introduce new forms of violations of law. Thus, after 20 July "failure to report a crime" becomes a crime.
In addition, the amendments to legislation equate calls for terrorism and its justification on social networks to similar actions committed through news media. After the laws take effect, citizens will be held responsible for similar crimes based on the same rules as in news media: the maximum penalty is increased up to seven years of incarceration.
The amendments also forbid unregistered organizations [i.e., religious groups] to engage in missionary activity, while any missionary activity by registered organizations outside the walls of a church is prohibited. Missionaries will have to get a special package of documents from the organizations authorizing them. The laws provide for tougher penalties for extremism, including its financing. The "Yarovaya package," in addition, expands the list of crimes for which criminal liability begins at age 14 years (previously it had been 22 types and it became 32).
Before the adoption of the package by the State Duma, Yarovaya's initiative was criticized primarily for the new rules intended to regulate transfer of information. According to these rules, operators of telecommunications and "organizers of the distribution of information" (that is, any website) are required to preserve all data sent by users in the course of six months (metadata, that is, information about instances of communication by users must be preserved for three years). (tr. by PDS, posted 7 July 2016)
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