HRW: New law on treason violates Human Rights, Calls for Putin not to ratify
24.10.12 14:51 By News Dept.
HRW calls on Vladimir Putin not to sign the bill on treason Photo: Reuters
The international human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch
The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe should examine the law's compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights, said the head of HRW in Europe and Central Asia, Hugh Williamson.
The bill on treason was adopted by the State Duma, the lower chamber of Russia's parliament, in its second and third readings. The law defines treason not only as passing on secret information, but "providing financial, technical, advisory or other assistance to a foreign state or international organization . . . directed at harming Russia's security."
"This overly broad and vague definition seems deliberately designed to make people think twice before doing international human rights advocacy," said Williamson. "In Russia's new political climate, it's reasonable to believe the authorities' threshold for interpreting what 'harming Russia's security' means will be quite low."
He added that many Russian organizations as well as their partners all over the world often meet with official representatives of other states to openly discuss the situation with human rights.
Williamson said that the law could apply to information shared with intergovernmental organizations of which Russia is a member, such as the United Nations and the Council of Europe.
"It's important for the Council of Europe to analyze this law immediately to identify the various incompatibilities with Russia's obligations under the European Convention," Williamson said. "And it's imperative for Russia's international partners to take a sober look at what is happening in Russia today and not to stand by silently as Russia's civil society is dismantled."
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