Cuba's unicameral legislature, the National Assembly of Popular Power (ANPP), on Sunday in an extraordinary session approved the communist island's new Criminal Code which includes, among other things, sentences of up to three years in prison for anyone found guilty of insulting public officials and prohibits foreign financing of local media outlets.

Lawmakers approved the bill in a session attended by President Miguel Diaz-Canel and former President Raul Castro, who governed from 2008 to 2018.

Activists and members of the opposition say that the reform will suppress social protest and independent journalism.

The bill's backers, on the other hand, call it a "rights-based" and modernizing code, given that the 1987 penal code that has prevailed up to now does not include any language governing environmental crimes, cyber-crimes or gender violence.

EFE int-lbp/rmo/cpy/bp