Russia has opened a criminal case against opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza—who previously survived two suspected poisonings in Russia—for spreading “false information,” his lawyer said on Friday, a week after he was sentenced to 15 days in jail after CNN aired an interview with Kara-Murza in which he called the Kremlin a “regime of murderers.”
Russia launched a criminal case against Kara-Murza for “public dissemination of knowingly false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,” his lawyer, Vadim Prokhorov, wrote in a Facebook post.
The case comes a week after Kara-Murza was sentenced to 15 days in jail for avoiding police officers near his home in Moscow, according to Prokhorov, who said at the time they would appeal the decision.
Kara-Murza’s arrest was reported hours after CNN shared an interview in which he called the Russian government a “regime of murderers.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in a tweet on Monday the U.S. was “troubled” by Kara-Murza’s detention and called for the immediate release of the Russian opposition politician.
The Russian author and historian also told MSNBC on Sunday that Russia had shut down “every independent television network” in a “war of censorship.”
Russia has faced a “total blackout,” Kara-Murza told MSNBC, noting that more than 15,000 people have been detained for protesting the war in Ukraine.
“I have absolutely no doubt that the Putin regime will end over this war in Ukraine,” Kara-Murza told CNN on Monday.
Kara-Murza is the former deputy leader of the People’s Freedom Party, an opposition party founded in the last years of the Soviet Union. An outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, he has spoken to several U.S. outlets condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine in recent months. Kara-Murza was also a colleague of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated in Moscow in 2015 while helping to organize a rally against Russia’s backing of a war in eastern Ukraine. Kara-Murza survived two suspected poisonings in Russia in 2015 and 2017. An investigation from news site Bellingcat, the Insider and Der Spiegel found that operatives of Russia’s Federal Security Service poison squad tracked both Kara-Murza and Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader who was also allegedly poisoned in 2020, just before the two fell ill several years apart. The Russian government has refused to investigate the events, but denies any involvement in Nemtsov’s death or Navalny’s poisoning.
Dmitry Muratov, the editor-in-chief of Russia’s independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper who won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for his investigative coverage of the Russian government, was reportedly attacked on a train from Moscow last week. Many of the country’s independent media outlets were shut down after the invasion began, and Russia announced last week it was shutting down the local offices of several human rights organizations that had condemned the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Navalny Is The Latest In A Grim Line Of Putin Opponents Believed To Have Been Poisoned (Forbes)
Nobel Prize-Winning Russian Journalist Dmitry Muratov Attacked On Train In Russia (Forbes)