The international community strongly condemns the politically motivated sentence against Kara-Murza

Vladimir Kara-Murza @vkaramurza

On 17 April, a Russian court sentenced Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian political activist, journalist, author, and filmmaker, to 25 years in prison. The authorities accused Kara-Murza of treason for criticizing Russia’s war on Ukraine. The penalty is the harshest inflicted on a member of the Russian pro-democracy opposition. 

The EU, several Western governments, and international human rights organizations strongly condemned the sentence.

Kara-Murza is one of the most prominent and honest politicians of the Russian opposition, a severe critic of Vladimir Putin, his regime and the aggression against Ukraine. His sentence is a message to the thousands of people fighting for democracy, media freedom and human rights in Russia, aiming to intimidate them. 

According to a tweet of Hanna Liubakova @HannaLiubakova, a journalist from Minsk, Belarus, Kara-Murza responded to the sentence with the an exclamation: “Russia will be free”. 

The European Union strongly condemned the decision of the Russian court.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell issued the following Statement:

“The European Union strongly condemns the ruling by a Moscow court to sentence the opposition politician, democracy activist and outspoken Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza to 25 years in prison on politically motivated charges.

“Today’s outrageously harsh court decision clearly demonstrates yet again the political misuse of judiciary in order to pressure activists, human rights defenders and any voices opposing Russia’s illegitimate war of aggression against Ukraine. 

“This “trial” did not meet the international standards of a fair and public hearing by a competent, impartial, and independent tribunal. The court hearings were inaccessible for observers. 

“Russia should also ensure access to appropriate health care for Vladimir Kara-Murza and all others in prison. In his final statement at the court, Vladimir Kara-Murza said that his trial resembled the show trials in the 1930s.

“The European Union stands in solidarity with all those Russians who are prosecuted, imprisoned or intimidated for fighting for human rights, speaking the truth and criticising the regime. 

“We call on Russia to immediately and unconditionally release all those imprisoned for politically motivated charges. We also urge Russia to repeal its oppressive legislation, including the laws censoring truthful information about Russia’s war against Ukraine, and the laws on so-called “foreign agents” and “undesirable organisations” that are only used to suppress civil society and independent voices.”

Foreign Minister of Estonia Urmas Reinsalu also commented on the sentence.

“Vladimir Kara-Murza’s bravery serves as an example to everyone. The international community must continue to support people like Vladimir Kara-Murza, as they are risking their lives and freedom to fight for democracy and human rights in Russia,” he said. “Estonia continues to hold the position that the European Union must impose sanctions on everyone connected to the imprisonment of Kara-Murza. Russia must be isolated politically and held accountable for its crimes, and the new sanctions package must be implemented without delay,” Minister Reinsalu added.

“Kara-Murza has been found guilty of discrediting the Russian military and state treason. However, the real reason for the brutal verdict is that he has criticised the Putin regime for violating Russian and international law in Ukraine and domestically,” said Berit Lindeman, Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. 

“He exercised his human rights to free speech. Those involved in the persecution of Kara-Murza should be targeted with sanctions by Norway and other democratic countries,” he added.

Politicians and activists across Russia and countries threatened by Russian aggression, also condemned this devastating sentence.  

“I condemn the sentencing of my friend Vladimir Kara-Murza @vkaramurza to 25 years in prison & call for his immediate release. He is a brave & intelligent voice of reason opposing Putin’s inhuman regime & the aggression against. This sentence is yet another mockery of justice,” tweeted Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

“A quarter of a century is an “A+” for your courage, consistency and honesty in your years-long work. I am infinitely proud of you, my love, and I’m always by your side. @vkaramurza” tweeted his wife Evgenia Kara-Murza @ekaramurza.

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