Reinsalu: Vladimir Kara-Murza serves as an example of courage for us all

Vladimir Kara-Murza
Vladimir Kara-Murza

The sentencing of Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza to quarter-of-a-century prison time should remain an example of courage and resolve to the free and democratic world and further evidence of why Russia must be isolated politically, outgoing Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) says.

Reinsalu issued comment on Kara-Murza's conviction Monday, which follows in its entirety.

"I am expressing strong support to Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza and his family, following his sentencing to 25 years in prison in a Russian court. Vladimir Kara-Murza's bravery serves as an example to everyone."

"The international community must continue to support people like Vladimir Kara-Murza, as they are risking their lives and freedom to fight for democracy and human rights in Russia. Estonia continues to hold the position that the European Union must impose sanctions on everyone connected to the imprisonment of Kara-Murza," Reinsalu continued, via a foreign ministry press release.

"Russia must be isolated politically and held accountable for its crimes, and the new sanctions package must be implemented without delay. We must continue to stand for the unconditional and immediate release of political prisoners and holding the organizers of repressions to account," the statement ended.

Moscow City Court on Monday found Kara-Murza, 41, guilty of treason, of propagating "false information about the Russian army," and affiliation with an "undesirable organization," the Moscow Times reports, quoting Interfax.

The sentence concluded one of the highest-profile trials inside Russia of an anti-Ukraine war dissident to date; Kara-Murza says he stands by all of his political statements, adding: "Not only do I not repent for any of it — I am proud of it," he said.

A crackdown on dissent in the already authoritarian Russian regime followed the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine; Kara-Murza, 41, was first detained a year ago, charged with "spreading false information about the Russian army" in an address he had made to U.S. state legislators the previous month, while prosecutors likely sought to demonstrate their loyalty to the regime by demanding the maximum possible term available.

Kara-Murza has been too unwell to attend some of the hearings, all of which took place behind closed doors; his health issues related to poisoning attempts in 2015 and 2017, his lawyers say

Kara-Murza was also fined a reported 400,000 rubles (a little under €4,500 at current exchanges).

He had been a close colleague of dissident Boris Nemstov, assassinated in Moscow in 2015, and had worked as his adviser in the early 2000s.

Kara-Murza also acted as a pallbearer at the 2018 funeral of U.S. Senator John McCain.

His father, Vladimir Alexeyevich Kara-Murza sr. (1959-2019), was a journalist and TV host who had nearly been expelled from university in the early 1980s, for defacing portraits of then-Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Moscow Times, Reuters

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