On April 17, the Moscow City Court sentenced opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza (recognized as a foreign agent in Russia) to 25 years in prison for treason, cooperation with an undesirable organization, as well as for spreading fake news about the Russian Armed Forces.
The trial of Vladimir Kara-Murza began in March. It was held behind closed doors as the materials of his criminal case were classified.
Vladimir Kara-Murza was found guilty of committing crimes under three articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation: "High treason”, "Dissemination of knowingly false information about the actions of the Russian Armed Forces”, and "Cooperation with an organization the activities ща which are recognized as undesirable in Russia”.
As an additional punishment, Kara-Murza was fined 400,000 rubles (about $5,000) and jailed for 18 months. He was also banned from engaging in journalistic activities for seven years after serving his term.
Vladimir Kara-Murza was thus sentenced to a longer term than former journalist Ivan Safronov, who was sentenced for treason to 22 years in prison.
Kara-Murza was arrested on April 11, 2022 while leaving his house in Moscow. A court later found him guilty of disobeying the police and arrested him for 15 days for committing an administrative offense.
Afterwards, the oppositionist was accused of spreading fake news about the Russian army.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has responded to reactions that Western officials showed to the outcome of the Kara-Murza case. Western diplomats should work with the Russian Foreign Ministry to execute their work duties in the country rather than attend opposition trials, Maria Zakharova, an official representative for the Foreign Ministry said.
"Kara-Murza was not lucky with his defenders: with such friends nearby one does not need enemies. If American and British ambassadors have developed a habit of walking into the doors of the Moscow City Court, they should refresh their memories of walking into the doors of the Foreign Ministry — they need to remember what diplomats should and should not do," Zakharova said.
As many as 40 employees of diplomatic missions from 25 countries, including diplomats from the USA, Canada, Great Britain and France, attended the announcement of the verdict in the Kara-Murza case.
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