Persecution of the opposition in Russia: the Prosecutor’s Office requested 25 years in prison for the politician Vladimir Kara Murza

Vladimir Kara-Murza (REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo) (Aaron Bernstein/)

The Russian Prosecutor’s Office asked today 25 years in jail for the opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza, in pretrial detention for a year and who is accused of high treason, cooperating with NATO countries and spreading false information about the Russian Army in Ukraine.

“Today the deliberations took place. The prosecutor asked for 25 years in prison,” said María Eismont, lawyer for the liberal politician, according to local press reports.

According to the indictment, Kara-Murza “knowingly spread false information” by accusing the Russian military of bombing residential areas, hospitals and schools in Ukraine during a March 2022 intervention in the Arizona State House of Representatives in the US.

Furthermore, it is accused of high tradition, a charge punishable in this country with up to 20 years in prisonand working for an NGO declared undesirable by the Russian Justice.

After the hearing, which took place behind closed doors, the opponent’s defender assured that her client has lost 17 kilos during his stay in preventive detention.

Vladimir Kara-Murza (Press Service of Moscow City Court/Handout via REUTERS)
Vladimir Kara-Murza (Press Service of Moscow City Court/Handout via REUTERS) (MOSCOW CITY COURT/)

Kara-Murzá has not been able to attend the last hearings due, according to her lawyers, “to a noticeable deterioration in his state of health”, which prevented him from even getting into the van to go to court.

Recently, the opponent’s lawyers reported that Kara-Murzá had been diagnosed in prison with lower extremity polyneuropathy as a consequence of the two poisonings he suffered in 2015 and 2017.

And they announced that they would take all the measures at their disposal so that their client is subjected to a “soon” medical analysis in a civilian hospital, which would theoretically force them to modify the precautionary measure that weighs on the opponent.

Despite his precarious state of health, the Russian Justice has extended preventive detention until August for the 41-year-old opponent, arrested in April 2022 and declared foreign agent.

Considered a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, Kara-Murzá cooperated with the exiled tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky in Open Russia, a movement dedicated to the defense of civil rights and democracy.

Kara-Murza survived two poisoning attemptsin 2015 and 2017. According to the Bellingcat research group, he had previously been followed by the same unit of the Federal Security Service that later poisoned opposition leader Alexéi Navalni, who in turn is serving eight years in prison.

In October 2022 he was distinguished with the Václav Havel Human Rights Award 2022 granted by the Council of Europe.

He United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turkexpressed concern about the arrest of the opposition politician and journalist.

“UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk is concerned about the continued detention of opposition politician and journalist Vladimir Kara Murza since April 2022,” his office said on Twitter.

Turk called for “fair procedures to be respected” and the journalist’s right to defense, who has already added several charges since he was arrested in April, initially for disobeying a police officer.

(With information from EFE and EP)

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