Geneva, March 8: The UN’s top human rights official is warning that a new Russian law allowing harsh punishment for spreading what is deemed to be fake information about the armed forces adds to concern about repressive legislation in Russia.
High Commission for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council that space for discussion or criticism of public policies – including (Russia’s) military action against Ukraine – is increasingly and profoundly restricted.
Bachelet said some 12,700 people have been arbitrarily arrested for holding peaceful anti-war protests and noted that media are required to use only official information and terms.
She said she’s concerned about repressive and vaguely defined legislation, and added that further legislation criminalising circumstances of discrediting’ the armed forces continues down this concerning path.
The new measure, signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on Friday, allows for prison sentences of up to 15 years. It has prompted some foreign media to suspend operations within Russia. (AP)