Lawyer for jailed Russian opposition figure says client faces 25-year prison term


A lawyer for jailed Russian opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr. said Thursday that the prosecutor in Kara-Murza’s closed-door trial for treason and spreading false information about the Russian military in Ukraine has called for a sentence of 25 years in prison.

Kara-Murza, a journalist and a prominent opponent of the Kremlin, has been behind bars since his arrest a year ago.

Russian media quoted lawyer Maria Esimont as saying the prosecutor is asking for the sentence to be served in a “strict regime” prison colony where conditions are harsh and prisoners are held in locked cells rather than in barracks.

The defense is scheduled to present its closing arguments on Friday and Kara-Murza is expected to make a statement, she said.


The charges against Kara-Murza stem from his March 15 speech to the Arizona House of Representatives in which he denounced Russia’s military action in Ukraine. Investigators added the treason charges while he was in custody.

Russia adopted a law criminalizing spreading “false information” about its military shortly it sent troops rolled into Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. Authorities have used the law to stifle criticism of what the Kremlin calls “a special military operation.”

Kara-Murza, a journalist, was an associate of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was killed near the Kremlin in 2015. Kara-Murza survived poisonings in 2015 and 2017 that he blamed on the Kremlin. Russian officials have denied responsibility.

Another prominent opposition figure, Ilya Yashin, was sentenced to 8½ years in prison on charges of discrediting the military.

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