(CNN) Vladimir Kara-MurzaRussia’s Tass news agency reported Monday that a prominent Russian human rights activist and critic of the Kremlin has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after publicly condemning Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
Kara Murza was initially arrested a year ago, after hours CNN interview In which he criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “regime of killers”.
He was on trial on criminal charges that included treason, spreading false news about the Russian army and facilitating the activities of an unwanted organization. Russia criminalized criticism of the military after its all-out invasion of Ukraine last year. The court said he would serve his sentence “in a strict regime correctional colony”.
His lawyer, Vadim Prokhorov, told CNN Monday that Kara-Murza will appeal the verdict.
He denounced the activist’s arrest by international human rights groups and led to sanctions by the Biden administration last month.
Monday’s ruling draws more attention to Putin’s brutal crackdown on free speech, which has intensified since the invasion of Ukraine last February.
Kara-Murza has long been a critic of Putin and has survived two poisonings.
In March 2022, he spoke before the Arizona House of Representatives against the war, and at CNN interview In April 2022, the political dissident condemned the Putin regime for targeting its critics. He was arrested shortly thereafter for “failing to obey orders from law enforcement,” according to his wife.
The verdict is likely to lead to further international condemnation of Putin. Last week, Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement that the dissident faced jail time “for nothing more than raising his voice and raising the voices of others in Russia who disagree with the Kremlin, its war in Ukraine and its escalating repression inside Russia.”
The British government criticized what it called the “politically motivated” ruling. Secretary James said astutely on Monday.
The charge of treason in Russia was expanded in 2012 to include consultations or any other assistance to a foreign country, international or foreign organisations. It was used against Kara-Murza because of his condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In March, the US imposed sanctions on a number of Russian individuals in connection with what the Treasury Department called the “arbitrary detention” of Kara-Murza and called for his “immediate and unconditional release”.
At the final session of his trial last week, Kara-Murza said he was “proud” of his political views.
“I am in prison for my political views; for speaking out against the war in Ukraine, for many years of struggle against Putin’s dictatorship, and for facilitating the adoption of personal international sanctions under the Magnitsky Act against human rights abusers. I have not repented of any of this, I am proud,” said Kara-Murza. with it”.
The original Magnitsky Act, which was signed into law in December 2012, bars entry to the United States and freezes the assets of some Russian government officials and businessmen accused of human rights abuses. The law was later expanded to give a global scope to Russia-focused legislation.
Kara-Murza said that he blamed himself for not being able to convince his “compatriots” and politicians of democratic countries of the danger that the current regime in the Kremlin poses to Russia and the world.
He also expressed his hope that “the day will come when the darkness over our country will dissipate.”
He added, “Even today, even in the darkness around us, even as I sit in this cage, I love my country and believe in our people.” “I think we can go this way.”
CNN correspondents Daria Tarasova, Radina Zhigova and Aliana Pavlova contributed to this report.
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