By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
MOSCOW (Worthy News) – A Russian court sentenced opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza to 25 years imprisonment on charges linked to his criticism of the war in Ukraine, prompting international condemnation.
The Russian-British journalist, politician, and human rights activist was found guilty of “treason,” spreading “false” news about the Russian army, and affiliation with an “undesirable organization.”
He denied all charges last week: “I subscribe to every word that I have said… Not only do I not repent any of this, I am proud of it.”
The sentencing comes amid a broader crackdown on the opposition, with prominent activist Alexei Navalny serving a 2,5 years prison term on what his supporters view as trumped-up embezzlement charges.
Kara-Murza’s 25-year jail sentence was the maximum sought by prosecutors and is the longest sentence an opposition figure has received since the war in Ukraine began.
It took the judge far less than 25 minutes to rule on his case, trial observers saw.
The sentencing of the Kremlin critic, who had dual Russian and British citizenship, was condemned by the United States, Britain, and Germany.
The British government called the conviction of Kara-Murza “politically motivated,” and Britain’s
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office summoned the Russian ambassador. Britain said it would tell the ambassador, Andrey Kelin, that the “U.K. considers Mr. Kara-Murza’s conviction contrary to Russia’s international obligations on human rights, including the right to a fair trial.”
Britain’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said, “Russia’s lack of commitment to protecting fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression, is alarming.”
He added: “We continue to urge Russia to adhere to its international obligations, including Vladimir Kara-Murza’s entitlement to proper healthcare.”
The U.S. embassy in Russia said that “the court’s decision today to sentence Vladimir Kara-Murza to 25 years in prison for expressing an opinion critical of the policies of his government is another terrible sign of the repression that has taken hold in Russia. We call for his immediate release.”
Elsewhere, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk reportedly said the sentence was “another blow to the rule of law and civic space in the Russian Federation.”
No one “should be deprived of their liberty for exercising their human rights, and I call on the Russian authorities to release him without delay,” Turk stressed.
Yet Kara-Murza, 41, hasn’t given up hope. “I know that the day will come when the darkness engulfing our country will clear,” he added in online remarks. “Our society will open its eyes and shudder when it realizes what crimes were committed in its name.”
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