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Russian activist Kara-Murza charged with treason: agencies

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Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, who was jailed in April for denouncing the Kremlin’s Ukraine offensive, has been charged with high treason, his lawyer told Russian news agencies on Thursday.

“Our client has been charged after speaking out critically against the Russian authorities three times — at public events in Lisbon, Helsinki and Washington,” Kara-Murza’s lawyer Vadim Prokhorov told TASS state-run news agency.

“These speeches did not pose any threat. This was public, open criticism,” Prokhorov was cited by TASS as saying.

Kara-Murza already had two criminal cases opened against him, and faces two decades behind bars over the treason charges.

He was detained in April for disseminating what the authorities deem to be “fake news” about the Russian army.

On the same day, he was put on the Russian foreign agent list — a label reminiscent of the “enemy of the people” branding that was used extensively throughout the Soviet Union to isolate dissidents.

And in August, he was accused of taking part in the activities of an “undesirable organisation” for organising a conference in support of Russian political prisoners.

The Western-educated activist and journalist was a close associate of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was shot dead near the Kremlin in 2015, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oligarch turned critic of President Vladimir Putin.

Kara-Murza claims he was poisoned twice — in 2015 and 2017 — because of his political activities, but he continued to live in Russia nonetheless.

On Tuesday the European Court of Human Rights condemned Moscow for invalidating Kara-Murza’s candidacy in regional elections on the ground that he had dual Russian and British citizenship.

Kara-Murza, a Russian citizen by birth, received the British citizenship after moving to Great Britain with his mother when he was 15.

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AFP

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French state-owned international news agency based in Paris. It is the world's oldest news agency, having been founded in 1835 as Havas.




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