The Moscow City Court sentenced oppositionist Vladimir Kara-Murza (recognized as a foreign agent) to 25 years in a strict regime colony in the case of treason and fakes about the army, RBC was told in court. The court also fined him 400,000 rubles. and banned him from journalism for seven years after his release.
He received such a term on the basis of a combination of three charges.
Consideration of the case on the merits took place behind closed doors due to the presence of classified materials in the case. The defense twice demanded the removal of the presiding judge Sergei Podoprigorov. The justification of the lawyers stated that the judge could not conduct the trial impartially, since, at the suggestion of Vladimir Kara-Murza, he was included in the Magnitsky sanctions list. In 2017, Podoprigorov and a number of other judges applied to the US Treasury with a request to remove them from the list.
In his last speech, Kara-Murza stated that, in his opinion, he was being persecuted for his political views and he did not repent of anything. “I subscribe to every word that I have spoken and which are imputed to me in this accusation,” he said.
According to Kara-Murza, in the last word they usually ask for an acquittal, and such a decision is the only legal one for a person who has not committed crimes. “But I don’t ask this court for anything. I know my verdict. I knew him a year ago when I saw people in black uniforms and black masks running after my car in the mirror. Such is the price for silence in Russia now, ”he said.
Vladimir Kara-Murza is a TV journalist, director and publicist. Former chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom. In 2015-2016, he served as deputy head of the People’s Freedom Party, from September 2019 to February 2022 he hosted a program on Ekho Moskvy and the Edge of the Week program on Radio Liberty (the Ministry of Justice entered it into the register of foreign media agents). He was a member of the democratic movement “Solidarity” and the coordinating council of the Russian opposition.
In April last year, the security forces detained Vladimir Kara-Murza for disobeying a police officer. Then he was arrested for 15 days. The detention protocol stated that he “behaved inappropriately, changed the trajectory of movement, quickened his pace and, when asked to stop, tried to hide.”
The Investigative Committee opened a case against the oppositionist under Art. 207.3. Criminal Code (public dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of the Armed Forces, the exercise of their powers by state bodies – the maximum punishment is up to 15 years in prison). The reason was the speech of Kara-Murza in the United States on March 15, 2022 before members of the Arizona House of Representatives.
On the same day, the Basmanny District Court of Moscow arrested Kara-Murza. During the meeting, the investigator said that the oppositionist could hide from the investigation, as “he is a citizen of Great Britain and a citizen of Northern Ireland” and has “money in foreign banks.”
In the summer of 2022, a case was opened against Kara-Murza under Art. 284.1 of the Criminal Code (activities of an “undesirable organization”, the maximum penalty is six years in prison). It was connected with his work as deputy chairman of Open Russia (the organization was declared undesirable and ceased its activities). In October, another case appeared under Art. 275 of the Criminal Code (high treason, up to 20 years in prison). It concerned three speeches of the publicist abroad: on October 8, 2021 in Lisbon at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, on October 29 in Oslo at the Helsinki Committee and on March 29, 2022 in Washington at the Helsinki Commission of the US Congress.
The oppositionist does not admit guilt and considers the criminal prosecution politically motivated.
In 2015 and 2017, Kara-Murza was hospitalized with signs of poisoning. The first time he was diagnosed with “acute renal failure” and put into a state of medical sleep. For rehabilitation, Kara-Murza left Russia, but then returned. The oppositionist turned to French experts for an examination. They found that the permissible concentration of manganese (59.5 times), copper (1.8 times), zinc (2.25 times), and mercury (1.2 times) was significantly exceeded in the body of the politician. He was later hospitalized again with symptoms of poisoning. Kara-Murza was diagnosed with kidney problems, put on hemodialysis and put into an artificial coma.