Vladimir Putin signs into law bill criminalizing slander

July 30, 2012 RBTH, Interfax

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law the federal bill, "On changes to the Russian Criminal Code and certain Russian statutory acts," which imposes liability for slander, the president's press office said.

The federal law adds Article 128.1 to the Russian Criminal Code, imposing liability for slander, i.e. for knowingly disseminating false information besmearing the honor and dignity of another person or undermining their reputation, and Article 298.1, imposing liability for slander against a judge, juror, prosecutor, investigator, detective or bailiff. Under the federal bill, these actions are penalized by a fine or compulsory work. The maximum penalty is a five-million-ruble fine or up to 480 hours of compulsory work for slander involving accusation of a person of committing a grave crime.

The federal law changes the Russian Criminal Proceedings Code section establishing the jurisdiction for crimes stipulated in the Russian Criminal Code Articles 128.1 and 298.1. The law also invalidates the Russian Administrative Code provisions imposing liability for slander, including against a judge, juror, prosecutor, investigator, detective or bailiff. The law aims to provide a legal remedy for citizens' constitutional rights and prevent criminal encroachments on their honor, dignity and reputation.

The bill was passed by the State Duma on July 13 and approved by the Federation Council on July 18, 2012.

The law says in particular that "slander, i.e. knowingly disseminating false information besmearing the honor and dignity of another person or undermining their reputation, is penalized by a fine of up to 500,000 rubles (previously 200,000) or up to 160 hours of compulsory work. The same act involving the use of office will be penalized by a fine of up to 2 million rubles or up to 320 hours of compulsory work.

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