Five Years in Russian Prison for Spreading False News on Virus

MOSCOW (AFP) — Russian lawmakers on Tuesday were to consider legislation imposing severe punishment — including up to five years in prison — for people convicted of spreading false information about the novel coronavirus.

If found guilty of inadvertently causing a person’s death or other grave consequences by spreading “intentionally false” information about life-threatening circumstances, a person would face a fine of up to $25,000 or up to five years in prison.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with lawmakers in January to make it possible for him to be ruler for life. Sputnik, Kremlin pool photo via AP)

The proposals also foresee punishment — including a fine of up to $19,000 and up to three years in prison — for harming a person’s health by spreading false information.

The proposals are part of a package of draft legislation that also imposes tough punishment — including up to seven years in prison — for people breaking coronavirus quarantine rules.

The amendments to Russia’s Criminal Code were proposed by Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house State Duma, and another senior lawmaker of the governing United Russia party, Pavel Krasheninnikov, and so are expected to pass swiftly.

Russia, which has a population of 144 million, has reported 1,836 coronavirus cases and nine fatalities, but the real numbers are believed to be higher.

Moscow, with its more than 12 million people, went into lockdown Monday and more than a dozen regions moved to introduce similar steps to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

© Agence France-Presse

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