UK Sanctions Russian Officials Involved in Kara-Murza Case

The United Kingdom has sanctioned five Russian officials for their involvement in the poisoning attempt and the detention of Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian journalist, opposition politician, human rights campaigner, and one of the Kremlin's most vocal opponents.

Vladimir Kara-MurzaU.K. authorities sanctioned five Russian officials, including three judges and two FSB agents, who were involved in persecution of Vladimir Kara-Murza. (Photo: Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Flickr, License)London has imposed travel bans and asset freezes for Elena Lenskaya, a judge who last week approved Kara-Murza’s arrest, Denis Kolesnikov and Andrei Zadachin, investigators involved in the arrest, and Alexander Samofal and Konstantin Kudryavtsev, agents of the Russian state security service (FSB), the U.K. Government said Friday in a statement.

The two agents were members of the operational team that followed Kara-Murza on multiple trips before he was poisoned both in 2015, three months after his close friend and fellow opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was assassinated, and in 2017, read the statement.

The Moscow City Court sentenced Kara-Murza, 41, to 25 years in prison after finding him guilty of treason and spreading fake news about the Russian Army. The U.K. Government said he was actually imprisoned for bravely speaking the truth about Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

The sentence consists of seven years in jail for spreading fake news, three years in prison for affiliation with an undesirable organization, and the remainder of the term for high treason.

Kara-Murza, who is also a British citizen since he moved to the U.K. with his mother at the age of 15, was also fined 400,000 rubles (US$4,922), forbidden to work as a journalist for seven years after serving his sentence, and sentenced to a six-month restriction of freedom upon his release from prison.

“Russia’s treatment and conviction of Vladimir Kara-Murza once again demonstrates its utter contempt for basic human rights,” U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.

He noted that the U.K. sanctions against five Russian officials send a clear message that the UK will not stand for this treatment of one of its citizens and called for Kara-Murza’s immediate release.

The U.K. has earlier sanctioned Sergei Podoprigorov, the judge who presided over Kara-Murza’s trial, as well as Dmitry Komnov, the administrator of the detention center where Kara-Murza is being held.