Monday’s sentence for the murder of a prominent Russian human rights advocate and Kremlin critic, Volikar Kara-Murza
A prominent Russian human rights advocate and Kremlin critic was sentenced to 25 years in prison after condemning the war in Ukranian, according to a state news agency.
The British government criticized what it called the “politically motivated” sentencing. The international law and the UN Charter were violated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as was bravely denounced by Volikar Kara-Murza. Russia’s lack of commitment to protecting fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression, is alarming,” Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on Monday.
Monday’s sentencing draws further attention on Putin’s brutal crackdown against freedom of expression, which has intensified since he invaded Ukraine last February.
In 2012 the treason charge in Russia was expanded to include help to a foreign state or organization. It was used against Kara-Murza for condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The US imposed sanctions on Russian individuals who were linked to Kara-Murza, but also called for his immediate release.
The original Magnitsky Act bars entry to the US of certain Russian government officials and businessmen, who are accused of human rights violations. The law was subsequently expanded to give global scope to the Russia-focused legislation.
Kara-Murza: Death and Hope in the Light of “The Day When the Dark Over Our Country Will Dissipate”
Kara-Murza blamed himself for not being able to persuade enough people that the current regime in the Kremlin poses a threat to Russia and the world.
He also expressed that he hoped “that the day will come when the darkness over our country will dissipate.” He continued, “even in the darkness surrounding us, I love my country and believe in our people.” “I believe that we can walk this path.”
“Acquittal would be the only fair verdict for a person who’s not had any crimes,” Kara-Murza said at the end of his trial. I do not ask the court for anything. I know the verdict. I knew it a year ago when I saw people in black uniforms and black masks running after my car in the rearview mirror. Such is the price for speaking up in Russia today.”
Kara-Murza’s health has been a constant source of concern throughout the trial — with the dissident losing 37 pounds and suffering from numbness in his extremities.
The doctor diagnosed the condition as polyneuropathy, which is a malfunctioning of peripheral nerves throughout the body. It can be caused by diseases, drugs or toxins.
Kara-Murza’s legacy as an advocate for modern Russian law: he was killed in 2015 by a Russian deputy prime minister
“Given the sophisticated type of poison, I think it’s people who have been or are connected with the Russian special services,” he told NPR in a 2017 interview.
There are risks to opposition politics in Russia and Kara-Murza is no stranger to them. In 2015, his friend and mentor, former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov, was gunned down by assassins in central Moscow.
The friendship between Kara-Murza and John McCain was formed in the push for the legislation.
Even after he was jailed, Kara-Murza continued authoring opinion pieces for the Washington Post in which he expressed his confidence that Russia would eventually emerge from the current repressive chapter in its history.