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Russia’s “hooliganism” law could jail the more than 13,000 anti-war protesters arrested across the country for up to eight years.
The section of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation on “hooliganism” states that it is “defined as a serious violation of public order, which expresses an open disrespect towards society”.
Rebekah Koffler, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and author of ‘Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,’ told Fox News Digital that the protesters would be charged with ‘hooliganism’ and said they could face five to eight years in prison.
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On Sunday, Russian authorities arrested more than 13,000 people at various anti-war protests across the country.
OVD-Infoan independent human rights project focused on political persecution in Russia, released the figure on Sunday.
The arrests come after Russia stepped up efforts to stifle any opposition to the government’s invasion of Ukraine, including by blocking several social media outlets in the country, such as Facebook and Twitter.
An anti-war activist in Russia, Tatyana Usmanova, has asked Ukrainians for forgiveness after Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, saying “our confrontation with these [Ukrainian] forces is inevitable.”
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“I want to apologize to Ukrainians. We did not vote for those who started the war,” she said.
When asked if Russia would consider throwing thousands of protesters in jail for years, Koffler said yes.
“It’s Russia. They can do whatever you want. Stalin murdered like millions of people,” Koffler said.
Koffler said Russian security services not only protect Putin’s regime from foreign adversaries, but also from dissidents.
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“Any kind of dissent is discovered and removed immediately so it doesn’t escalate into something out of control,” Koffler said.
She said anti-war protesters in Russia were taking a huge risk by attending the demonstrations.
Russian President Vladimir Poutine on Friday signed a law that would punish journalists with up to 15 years in prison if they report what authorities consider to be false information about the military.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report