Write to Russia: Vladimir Kara-Murza – imprisoned for exercising his right to freedom of expression

Vladimir Kara-Murza is a prominent Russian politician, journalist, historian and filmmaker. A long-standing critic of the Putin regime, Kara-Murza has been a key advocate of the Magnitsky Act and the victim of two attempted poisonings (in 2015 and 2017). On 11 April 2022 Kara-Murza was initially arrested on charges of ‘disobeying’ a police officer and then remanded in custody on charges of spreading ‘fake news’ about the Russian armed forces under Article 207.3 of the Russian Criminal Code. On 17 April 2023, Kara-Murza was sentenced to 25 years in prison on charges of discrediting the military, involvement with an ‘undesirable foreign organisation’ and treason. In detention, Kara-Murza’s health has deteriorated, in particular he has suffered from polyneuropathy, a condition resulting from the earlier poisoning attempts.

Since Russia’s full-scale attack on Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Vladimir Kara-Murza has spoken out in opposition to the war and the crimes of Russian soldiers, and, along with other politicians and public figures, he was a founding member of the Russian Anti-War Committee. Kara-Murza is a Senior Fellow at the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights and has been awarded the Civil Courage Prize (2018) and the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (2023). Kara-Murza has been declared a political prisoner by MemorialAmnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience. Human Rights Watch has urged his release and called his conviction ‘a travesty of justice.’

I know that the day will come when the darkness over our country will be gone. When the war [in Ukraine] will be called a war, and the usurper [in the Kremlin] will be called a usurper; when those who have ignited this war will be called criminals instead of those who tried to stop it… And then our people will open their eyes and shudder at the sight of the horrific crimes committed in their names.

Vladimir Kara-Murza in his closing speech at his trial (Wikipedia)

Commentaries:

Memorial:

We believe Kara-Murza is being prosecuted for exercising the right to freedom of expression, as well as to intimidate opponents of the war against Ukraine. We demand that Vladimir Kara-Murza be immediately released from custody and that the charges against him be dropped. We consider Article 207.3 of the Russian Criminal Code violates the very foundations of law and was created for purposes of political repression against critics of the authorities and must be repealed. Any prosecutions under this article are unlawful and should be stopped. We demand the Russian authorities observe the Constitution of Russia and universally recognized human rights standards.

Political Prisoners. Memorial, 20 May 2022

Amnesty International:

Vladimir Kara-Murza’s 25-year prison sentence is yet another chilling example of the systematic repression of civil society, which has broadened and accelerated under the Kremlin since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. The so-called ‘crimes’ Vladimir Kara-Murza was tried for – speaking out against the invasion and advocacy on behalf of victims of human rights violations – are in fact acts of outstanding bravery. This verdict wrongly conflates human rights activism with ‘high treason’ and is reminiscent of Stalin-era repression.

Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Russia Director, Amnesty International, 17 April 2023

Human Rights Watch

All of the charges against Kara-Murza are unfounded and constitute blatant persecution for his entirely peaceful exercise of freedom of expression […]. On March 3, the US government designated six people, including three judges, for sanctions due to their role in Kara-Murza’s arbitrary detention. Kara-Murza’s health has deteriorated in detention. In March, he was unable to attend a court hearing due to polyneuropathy, a condition affecting multiple peripheral nerves simultaneously, which his lawyer attributed to two severe poisonings he survived, in 2015 and 2017. Bellingcat investigative journalists have reported that the poisonings were most likely orchestrated by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), and Russian authorities have never investigated either attempted killing.

Human Rights Watch, 14 April 2023

Latest news

Sent to serve his sentence in a penal colony in Omsk, in September 2023 Kara-Murza was placed in a punishment cell there. However, in January 2024 he was moved to another penal colony under stricter conditions in the same region. Vladimir’s wife, Evgenia Kara-Murza, speaking of the transfer to this other penal colony said:

“There are no grounds for his transfer and that makes it even more frightening as my husband is in the hands of the same people who tried to kill him twice, in 2015 and 2017,”

Evgenia Kara-Murza (Source: BBC)

Write to Vladimir Kara-Murza

The Russian penal system does not allow any messages to prisoners that are written in foreign languages, but Write to Russia is here to help you. To write to Vladimir Kara-Murza to show your support for hIm, please send your letter as an email to us at: letters-to-prisoners@protonmail.com. We shall translate the letter into Russian for you and either, depending on your request, mail the translated letter on your behalf to Vladimir or return the letter to you by email for posting in an envelope with an address written in Russian. If we send the letter on your behalf, we ask that you compensate us for the cost of postage from the UK (currently £2.20 – $2.73; €2.52). To learn more about our letter writing project, click here: Write to Russia.

The address to write to Vladimir Kara-Murza is:

644029, г. Омск, Доковский проезд, д. 6, ЕПКТ в ФКУ ИК-7 УФСИН России по Омской области, Кара-Мурзе Владимиру Владимировичу, 1981 г. р. 


If you would like to write to another person unjustly deprived of liberty in Russia, the project Write to Russia has so far highlighted the following cases:

  1. Sasha (Alexandra) Skochilenko – imprisoned for peaceful anti-war protest – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-2/
  2. Mikhail Zhilin – imprisoned for refusing to fight against Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-3/
  3. Aleksei Arbuzenko – imprisoned for protesting the war against Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-4/
  4. Aleksei Navalny – imprisoned for peaceful participation in electoral politics – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-5/
  5. Evgeny Zinich- imprisoned for his faith – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-6/
  6. Alsu Kurmasheva – held on remand for her work as a journalist – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-7/
  7. Bakhrom Khamroev – imprisoned for his political and religious beliefs and human rights work – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-8
  8. Andrei Kapatsyna – imprisoned for his religious beliefs and refusing to fight in Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-9
  9. Gregory Vinter – imprisoned for speaking out about the killings in Bucha and Irpen – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-10
  10. Aleksei Gorinov – imprisoned for speaking out against Russia’s war on Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-11/
  11. Vladimir Kara-Murza – imprisoned for speaking out against Russia’s war on Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-12/

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