Free Russia Foundation Condemns Expansion of Charges Under the Politically-Motivated Criminal Prosecution of Vladimir Kara-Murza and Demands His Immediate Release
Today, Russian media outlets have reported that new charges of high treason (Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code) have been filed against opposition politician, human rights activist, and journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza.
Vladimir Kara-Murza’s attorney Vadim Prokhorov confirmed that the charges of state treason have been filed against the politician on three counts. They allege speeches criticizing the Russian authorities at public events in Lisbon, Portugal; Oslo, Norway; and Washington, DC. According to the lawyer, the speeches, that indeed took place, posed no threat to the security of Russia, on the contrary, they were aimed at protecting the interests of Russia and its citizens and at correcting the current catastrophic situation.
The pro-democracy leader faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Vladimir Kara-Murza has pleaded not guilty.
Natalia Arno, president of Free Russia Foundation, in her comments on the new charges expressed outrage at the illegal prosecution of Kara-Murza. “Charges of state treason for public speeches are absurd especially with regards to Vladimir, who is globally recognized as a true patriot of Russia and revered for his work in defense of the interest of the Russian people and democratic principles.”
Arno noted that Vladimir Kara-Murza served as Foundation’s Vice President, but was relieved from that position on August 3, 2021. “This decision was made by our board in recognition of the fact that Vladimir had been spending most of his time working in Russia, that was his main focus and his plan,” she explained.
The Foundation considers the criminal case against Vladimir Kara-Murza fabricated and politically motivated, a retribution for his work in support of human rights and his courageous quest against Putin’s autocracy.
“It has been absolutely clear from the very beginning that the detention and persecution of Kara-Murza is part of the wider campaign by the Russian authorities to punish and suppress any dissent,” said Natalia Arno.
“Today, accusations of discrediting the Russian military and participating in activities of an undesirable organization have been further inflated by charged of high treason, one of the most severe criminal offenses that can send a person to prison for decades. Vladimir Kara-Murza is a Russian patriot who has fought for many years for a prosperous future for his country. For this, the Kremlin tried to kill him twice, but, having failed to achieve its aim, arrested him and is now persecuting him on false charges that could lead to years of unjust imprisonment.
This is a tragic case that shows us the ways Vladimir Putin’s dictatorial regime is suppressing all opposition in order to sow fear among Russians and remain in power at any cost. For years, Vladimir Kara-Murza has been one of the most consistent and determined advocates of democracy and human rights in Russia. His bogus arrest only underscores the importance of the idea of justice for the people of Russia and Ukraine, who have suffered too long from the actions of the Kremlin kleptocracy.” Free Russia Foundation, which supports Russian activists, journalists, and human rights defenders, considers the charges against Vladimir Kara-Murza unjust and politically motivated, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release. We demand the Russian authorities to stop manipulating the law to achieve false, illusory goals that destroy the very foundations of democracy and international security.