World

Putin signs law to shut 'undesirable' foreign organizations in Russia on security grounds

FILE - In this May 12, 2015 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a meeting with representatives of top military brass and defense industries at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia. Putin signed a bill into law Saturday, May 23, 2015, giving prosecutors the power to declare foreign and international organizations "undesirable" in Russia and shut them down. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

FILE - In this May 12, 2015 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a meeting with representatives of top military brass and defense industries at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia. Putin signed a bill into law Saturday, May 23, 2015, giving prosecutors the power to declare foreign and international organizations "undesirable" in Russia and shut them down. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

President Vladimir Putin has signed a law giving prosecutors the power to declare foreign and international organizations "undesirable" in Russia and shut them down.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have condemned the move as part of an "ongoing draconian crackdown which is squeezing the life out of civil society." The law is part of a Kremlin campaign to stifle dissent that intensified after Putin began his third term in 2012.

Russian suspicions of Western intentions have been further heightened because of tensions over the conflict in Ukraine.

The new law Putin signed allows prosecutors to declare an organization undesirable if it presents "a threat to the foundation of the constitutional order of the Russian Federation, the defense capability of the country or the security of the state."