Vladimir Kara-Murza: Putin critic gets 25 years in prison

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A Moscow court sentenced Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza to twenty-five years in prison.

Reuters reported that Kara-Murza was found guilty of treason and other crimes that he denied.

Kara-Murza, 41, a father of three and an opposition politician who holds both Russian and British passports, spent years speaking out against President Vladimir Putin and pressured Western governments to impose sanctions on Russia and Russian citizens for alleged human rights violations.

State prosecutors, who had asked the court to jail him for 25 years, accused him of treason and bringing the Russian military into disrepute after he criticized what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

In a CNN interview aired hours before his arrest, Kara-Murza had alleged that Russia was run by a “regime of assassins.” He also used speeches in the United States and across Europe to accuse Russia of bombing civilian targets in Ukraine, a charge that Moscow has rejected.

After hearing his sentence on Monday, Kara-Murza, calmly listening to the proceedings inside a glass cage in the courtroom dressed casually in a jacket and jeans, said “Russia will be free,” a well-known opposition slogan.

In his final court speech last week, Kara-Murza compared his trial, which was held behind closed doors, to the show trials of Josef Stalin in the 1930s.

He had refused to ask the court to acquit him, saying that he stood by and was proud of everything he had said.

“Criminals are supposed to regret what they have done. I, on the other hand, am in prison for my political opinions. I also know that the day will come when the darkness over our country will dissipate,” he had said.

One of his lawyers, Maria Eismont, was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying that Kara-Murza’s legal team would appeal Monday’s verdict, which she said was marred by many serious legal violations.

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