Britain has summoned the Russian ambassador in protest against the imprisonment of Opposition activist and Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza.
Murza, who holds Russian-British dual citizenship, was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a Moscow municipal court on Monday after publicly condemning Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Kara-Murza was arrested and jailed by Russian authorities in April 2022 within hours of criticizing in an interview Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “regime of murderers.”
He was convicted with charges including spreading “knowingly false information” about the Russian armed forces; involvement with an “undesirable” organization; and treason.
The United Kingdom has condemned the sentencing of Kara-Murza, alleging that it is politically-motivated.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said it has summoned the Russian Ambassador, Andrey Kelin, Monday. “It will make clear that the UK considers Mr Kara-Murza’s conviction to be contrary to Russia’s international obligations on human rights, including the right to a fair trial,” the Office added.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said, Vladimir Kara-Murza bravely denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for what it was – a blatant violation of international law and the UN Charter.
Russia’s lack of commitment to protecting fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression, is alarming, he added.
Cleverly urged Russia to adhere to its international obligations, including Kara-Murza’s entitlement to proper healthcare. He called for the immediate release of the 41-year-old journalist, author, and filmmaker.
The UK has already sanctioned Sergei Podoprigorov, the judge who presided over Kara-Murza’s trial, and Dmitry Komnov, the head of the detention centre where he is being held.
Cleverly said the government will consider further measures for holding to account those involved in Kara-Murza’s detention and mistreatment.
Murza has received wide recognition for his work as human rights activist, including the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize in October.
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