Russian opponent Kara-Murza “relatively stable” in prison hospital

The health condition of Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian opposition politician who is detained and ill in a prison hospital in Siberia, is “relatively stable”, he said this Wednesday the Kremlin critic’s legal team.

Kara-Murza’s lawyers managed to visit him, as the oppositionist was incommunicado for several days, after being transferred to a prison hospital in the Siberian region of Omsk.

Kara-Murza, 42 years old, with dual Russian and British nationality, is serving a 25-year prison sentence on charges of treason, which he rejects and claims are “political motivations”. The accusations resulted from public comments that harshly criticized the Kremlin.

Kara-Murza’s arrest in April 2022, weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, came at a time when authorities intensified their repression of dissent to levels not seen since Soviet times. ethical.

His lawyers tried to visit him last Thursday at Penal Colony No. 6 in the Siberian city of Omsk, where he was serving his sentence, but were informed that he had been transferred to a prison hospital for an “unchecked” examination. specified, according to reports from his wife Evgenia and lawyer Vadim Prokhorov.

Since then, for several days, they were denied access to the politician due to “false excuses” given by hospital staff, Prokhorov said in a statement published Tuesday on the social network X.

This Wednesday, one of Kara-Murza’s lawyers was finally able to visit him, Prokhorov said in a new statement. “His health status is currently relatively stable,” said the lawyer, adding that the exact reasons for the examination at the hospital are being clarified. Prokhorov did not provide any other details.

Evgenia Kara-Murza also said on the social network X that her husband was “alive and as well as could be expected”, admitting that his health had deteriorated in prison.

In 2015 and 2017, Kara-Murza suffered two near-fatal poisonings and developed polyneuropathy, a disease that causes death of sensation in the limbs.

In Wednesday’s statement, Prokhorov stressed that polyneuropathy is a serious chronic illness that prevents Kara-Murza from serving time in a prison.

British and American authorities also reiterated calls for Kara-Murza’s immediate release and expressed concern that his lawyers had not been given access.

“Vladimir is being held in deplorable conditions in prison for having the courage to tell the truth about the war in Ukraine”, said the new British Foreign Minister, David Lammy, in a statement.

The United States Embassy in Moscow also stated, in a statement on X, that “speaking the truth and one’s conscience is a right guaranteed by the Russian Constitution and which, unfortunately, continues to be oppressed by the Kremlin’s continued and escalating crackdown on dissent.”

Asked by the news agency Associated Press (AP) whether the Kremlin has plans to release sick political prisoners like Kara-Murza, similar to what President Vladimir Putin’s ally, Alexander Lukashenko, recently did in neighboring Belarus, the voice Dmitry Peskov said this Tuesday during the telephone conference with journalists that there are no such plans “at the moment”.

Kara-Murza is serving the harshest sentence for a Kremlin critic in modern Russia. He viewed the accusation as punishment for standing up to Putin and compared the process to the show trials of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

The wife, Evgenia, stated that her husband continues to be held in isolation, a common practice for Kremlin critics who are detained and which is seen as a way of increasing pressure on them.

Kara-Murza became prominent as a journalist and wrote contributing columns for ‘The Washington Post’ from his prison cell. She won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary earlier this year.

The opposition figure has been declared a political prisoner by prominent Russian human rights group Memorial, and Western authorities have repeatedly called for his release.

Measures to neutralize opposition and stifle criticism intensified significantly after the start of the war in Ukraine, including the passage of a law that effectively criminalizes any public expression about the ongoing conflict. deviate from the Kremlin line.

The legislation, which prohibits “disseminating false information” about the Russian army or “discrediting” it, has been used against opposition politicians, human rights activists and ordinary Russians who they criticize the Kremlin, with many of them receiving long prison sentences.


Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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