The Duma seeks to censor criticism against the Wagner group

(Reuters) – The State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, passed an amendment on Tuesday punishing criticism of “volunteer” groups fighting in Ukraine aimed at “protecting” private company Wagner’s mercenaries, who are heavily involved in the current fighting. Around the city of Bakhmaut.

The amendment, which still needs to be approved by the upper house (Council of the Federation) and signed into law by Vladimir Putin, will join a law passed shortly after the invasion of Ukraine in March 2022, to curb criticism against the armed forces. Will stop

According to this law, defamation of the Russian military is punishable by five years in prison and dissemination of false information about it is punishable by fifteen years in prison.

In January, Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin asked parliament to amend the Criminal Code to ban negative publications about the paramilitary group in the media, a request quickly accepted by Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.

The Russian prosecutor’s office has already opened more than 5,800 cases against people accused of defaming the armed forces, according to human rights group OVD-Info.

(Reuters Office, French edition edited by Jean-Stéphane Brosse, Tangy Salon)

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