Saeima joins international call for release of Vladimir Kara-Murza

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The Chairs of the Foreign Affairs Committees of 18 national parliaments, including the Baltic states, and the European Parliament have made a Joint Statement calling on Russia’s authorities to immediately release activist, journalist and politician Vladimir Kara-Murza.

On 11 April, Kara-Murza was arrested outside his Moscow home following an interview on CNN in which he criticized Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The following day, he was sentenced to 15 days in prison for disobeying police orders. On 22 April, a Russian court charged Vladimir Kara-Murza under a new law that bans the spreading of “false” information about the Russian military, and he could now face up to 15 years in prison.

“These latest charges against Vladimir Kara-Murza are a blatant fabrication meant to distract attention from Putin’s war crimes and deter other courageous Russians from speaking out against the Kremlin. In 2015 and 2017, Vladimir Kara-Murza survived two near-fatal poisonings, traced by investigative journalists to Russian authorities. Consequently, we are deeply concerned about Vladimir Kara-Murza’s safety,” the Chairs of Foreign Affairs Committees said in their Statement.

Rihards Kols (National Alliance) was the signatory on behalf of Latvia.

They point out that since Russia invaded Ukraine, over 15,000 Russians have been detained for criticizing or opposing the war, or peacefully demonstrating against it. “In addition, hundreds of Russians have been charged under the same Orwellian law that Vladimir Kara-Murza is accused of contravening. Putin and his regime have shown themselves to be willing to break any law, domestic or international, to suppress political opposition at home and subjugate neighbouring countries,” the Statement underlines.

The Chairs of Foreign Affairs Committees call on all democratic nations and allies to oppose criminal behaviour like this to protect human rights in Russia and worldwide. “Together with the free world, we stand in solidarity both with Ukraine and with Russian civil society in these difficult times. We condemn the Putin regime’s brutal repression of free speech and independent media in Russia and demand the immediate release of Vladimir Kara-Murza and all the prisoners of conscience whom the Russian government has detained,” they say in their Statement.

The Joint Statement initiated by Estonia has been signed by the Chairs of the Foreign Affairs Committees of the national parliaments of the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament also joined the Statement.

The text of the Statement in English.

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