Kremlin prominent critic Kara-Murza sentenced to 15 days in jail

AFP , Tuesday 12 Apr 2022

Vladimir Kara-Murza, a prominent opponent of the Kremlin and its military operation in Ukraine, was sentenced to 15 days in detention Tuesday for disobeying police orders, his lawyer told AFP.

Vladimir Kara-Murza
File Photo Vladimir Kara-Murza, Russian opposition activist, arrives to lay flowers near the place where Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was gunned down, in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. AP

"Moscow's Khamovnichesky district court found Kara-Murza guilty of disobeying police and handed him the maximum sentence of 15 days," lawyer Vadim Prokhorov said.

The police report said Kara-Murza, 40, behaved strangely and tried to flee after he saw police waiting for him outside his apartment building Monday evening, Prokhorov added.

It was not explained in court why police were waiting, the lawyer said, adding that the activist recently criticised Russia's military operation in Ukraine.

"Obviously this is connected to politics. There is an objective to put him behind bars," Prokhorov said.

The former journalist was a close associate of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated 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 continues to live in Russia.

Russia recently introduced a law that imposes a sentence of up to 15 years in jail for publishing information about the military deemed false by the government.

The law is part of ongoing efforts by Russian authorities to silence critics of the government and Moscow's military operation in Ukraine.

Another Moscow court Tuesday sentenced four student journalists to two years of community service as well as a three-year ban on administering websites, after finding them guilty of inciting minors to protest, the Interfax news agency reported.

The four staff of a student news site called DOXA were placed under house arrest last April after they posted a video about protests in support of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

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