Law on high treason approved by Russia's upper house
MOSCOW, October 31 - RAPSI. The Federation Council, Russia's upper house of parliament, has approved a law increasing the punishment for disclosing state secrets and imposing criminal liability for the illegal acquisition of classified information.
Last week Russia's lower house, the State Duma, adopted a law increasing the protection of state secrets, toughening punishment for their disclosure, and introducing criminal liability for illegally getting hold of secret information.
The document was originally submitted to the State Duma in December 2008 and was adopted in the first reading on September 21, 2012. It raised a number of concerns in civil society, in particular because the law's provisions are thought to be ambiguous and could potentially result in law enforcement abuse.
The law introduces a new chapter to the Criminal Code, according to which obtaining state secret information by theft, deception, bribery, blackmail, force or threat of violence will be subject to a 200,000 ($6,373) - 500,000 ($15,930) ruble fine, or up to four years imprisonment.
Under the law, any individual who has learnt of state secret information or who has been entrusted with it either for his work or his studies will bear responsibility for its disclosure.
The bill's sponsors claim this means that individuals who came across this kind of data accidentally will not bear criminal responsibility.