France expresses its disappointment and its profound disapproval regarding the July 31 ruling dismissing Vladimir Kara-Murza’s appeal against his 25-year jail sentence in a penal colony. The decision to uphold this sentence is an illustration of the ways that the Russian judicial system is manipulated against those who criticize the government.
The Russian journalist and political activist, who was awarded the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize by the Council of Europe in 2022, notably worked with the Russian NGOs Open Russia and the Free Russia Foundation, which the Russian authorities consider “undesirable.” He was sentenced to 25 years in a penal colony, the maximum sentence under the Russian criminal code, for treason and spreading “disinformation” regarding the actions taken by Russia in Ukraine.
France calls on Russia to comply with its international obligations to respect human rights and to immediately and unconditionally free the political prisoners and drop the charges against them. We salute the courage of the women and men who, like Vladimir Kara-Murza, Aleksei Navalny, Oleg Orlov, Aleksandra Skochilenko, and many others, defend freedom of speech and freedom of opinion, despite the risks that this entails.