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Russia's Upper House Passes Treason Bill

Russia's Federation Council in session in Moscow (file photo)
Russia's upper house of parliament has passed a controversial bill broadening the definition of high treason.

The Federation Council passed the bill on October 31 with 138 votes in favor, none against, and one abstention.

The bill will now be sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is expected to sign it into law.

The legislation expands the number of activities that constitute high treason to include cooperating with international organizations seen as working "against the security of Russia."

The bill has been fiercely criticized by Western officials and rights activists who say the legislation criminalizes the sharing of information with bodies like Amnesty International or the European Court of Human Rights.

Russia has recently passed laws that have branded NGOs that receive foreign funding as "foreign agents" and blacklisted antigovernment websites.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and AFP