WASHINGTON— Following the sentencing of statesman and outspoken Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza to 25 years in a Russian prison for speaking the truth, Helsinki Commission Chairman Representative Joe Wilson (SC-02), Co-Chairman Senator Ben Cardin (MD), Ranking Member Representative Steve Cohen (TN-09), and Ranking Member Senator Roger Wicker (MS) issued the following joint statement:
“We learned today of Vladimir Kara-Murza’s sentencing not only with outrage at Russia’s widening persecution of political dissidents, but also real sadness. A longtime friend of the Commission, Kara-Murza has been a stalwart voice against Putin since the late 90s, sounding a warning that too few heeded. From his advocacy for the Magnitsky Act to his condemnation of Russia’s war against Ukraine, Kara-Murza has been clear that Russia will not be able to emerge from its current darkness until it confronts the crimes of its past and present. Generations of his own family suffered political persecution in the Soviet Union. Yet even in prison, with increasingly frail health, he has never recanted; rather, he has doubled down on his assertion that Russia will someday be free. Kara-Murza, too, will be free. Until then, we will do everything we can to support him and his family.”
Russian authorities arrested Vladimir Kara-Murza outside his apartment in Moscow in April 2022. While in pre-trial detention, he was charged with discrediting the Russian military; later, treason charges were added. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison on April 17. Since his imprisonment, Kara-Murza’s health, already a concern due to the aftereffects of two near-fatal poisonings in 2015 and 2017, has deteriorated.