Russian Opponent Kara-Mourza Imprisoned 25 Years

A Russian court on Monday rejected an appeal by opponent Vladimir Kara-Mourza, maintaining his 25-year prison sentence for “treason”, a particularly harsh judgment in the midst of a crackdown on voices critical of the offensive in Ukraine.

The decision of the Moscow City Court of April 17, 2023 remains unchanged, the appeal judgment quoted by Russian news agencies reads. Both the appeal hearing and the trial took place behind closed doors.

The sentence handed down to Mr. Kara-Murza, who was one of the last major Kremlin critics not to be behind bars or exiled abroad, is the heaviest imposed on an opponent in the recent history of the country. He is also in very poor health, according to his supporters, as a result of poisonings he suffered in the past.

The opponent was sentenced in April for high treason, spreading false information about the Russian army and illegal work for an undesirable organization.

This condemnation of Mr. Kara-Mourza had been denounced as being politically motivated by the United States and as scandalously harsh by the European Union.

Mr. Kara-Mourza said he was proud of his political commitment in his last statements before his conviction.

The opponent almost died after being poisoned twice, in 2015 and 2017, from assassination attempts which he attributes to Russian power. His supporters are worried about his health.

London sanctions Russian judges

The United Kingdom announced sanctions on Monday evening against six Russians who played a leading role in the deplorable conviction of Vladimir Kara-Mourza, who has dual nationality.

London said it had sanctioned three judges, two prosecutors and an expert witness for the prosecution for their role in this politically motivated decision, believing that Mr Kara-Murza is being persecuted by the Russian regime because of his anti-war position.

British Foreign Minister James Cleverly has called for his immediate release. The rejection of Vladimir Kara-Murza’s appeal after his conviction on fanciful charges highlights the perversion of the Russian regime, Cleverly added.

Today we sanctioned six people involved in his case, sending a clear message that the UK will not tolerate any of its citizens being treated like this, he said.

In recent years, almost all Russian opponents have been sentenced to heavy prison terms or had to flee the country.

The best known, anti-corruption activist Alexeï Navalny, who is already serving a nine-year prison sentence for fraud, is the subject of a new trial for extremism in which he risks 20 years in prison. Judgment in this case is due on August 4.


Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.