Responding to the news that Vladimir Kara-Murza, a prominent Russian political activist and journalist who has been detained since April 2022 for his anti-war views, has been awarded the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia, said:
“Vladimir Kara-Murza is a man of courage and conviction who believes that human rights and dignity should prevail over fear. His brave, tireless work has ensured that more people in Russia share these values. Yet in fighting this just cause, he has paid the price of his own freedom.”
Vladimir Kara-Murza is a man of courage and conviction who believes that human rights and dignity should prevail over fearMarie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia
“Following the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian authorities enacted a witch-hunt against politicians, activists and journalists who dared to condemn the Kremlin and its war of aggression. Vladimir Kara-Murza was among the first state critics targeted under this vicious campaign.
“Vladimir Kara-Murza should be immediately and unconditionally released, as should all those who have been prosecuted and convicted for peacefully criticizing the Russian armed forces”.
In April 2022, Vladimir Kara-Murza was arrested for sharing “fake news” about the actions of the Russian military in Ukraine (Article 207.3 of Russia’s Criminal Code), after having served arbitrarily 15 days’ detention for “disobeying a police officer.”
He was charged after giving a speech at the Arizona House of Representatives in March, in which he criticized Vladimir Putin’s policies, denounced the West’s “appeasement” of the Kremlin, and highlighted the importance of the protest movement in Russia.
In July, he was also charged with “organizing the activities of an undesirable organization” (Article 284.1(1)) over his alleged involvement with Otkrytaya Rossiya (Open Russia) and Foundation Free Russia, two NGOs that are labelled by the Russian authorities as ‘undesirable.’
On 6 October, the Russian authorities charged Vladimir Kara-Murza with “high treason” (Article 275). According to their investigation, the activist cooperated with a NATO country, as “proven” by his critical public speeches in Lisbon, Helsinki and Washington, DC.