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Controversial Russian Treason Law Comes Into Force

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin
A controversial law broadening the definition of high treason has come into effect in Russia despite President Vladimir Putin's promise to review it.

The law 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 harshly criticized by Western officials and rights activists who say the legislation could criminalize the sharing of information with rights groups such as Amnesty International or the European Court of Human Rights.

Two days before the legislation came into effect on November 14, Putin promised to review the bill to avoid a broad interpretation of treason, but he signed it into law on November 13.

Russia has recently passed laws which have labeled nongovernmental organizations that receive foreign funding as "foreign agents" and blacklisted antigovernment websites.

Based on reporting by AP and ITAR-TASS