Statement by the Free Russia Forum on the sentencing of Vladimir Kara-Murza

Today’s “sentencing” of Vladimir Kara-Murza is a momentous and historic event. For the first time in post-Soviet Russia, an opposition politician has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for legal political activity that does not even appear to be formally criminal. This time, the Putin regime did not bother to falsify even an outwardly plausible criminal case, preferring instead to accept the politically motivated interpretation of the defendant’s activities as “high treason.

This “verdict” became the final point in the long process of fascization of Putin’s regime, which is now taking on an absolutely total character. Any form of open dissent, be it criticism of the authorities themselves, or the criminal war unleashed by them, is declared the gravest of all crimes. Hence the exorbitantly long prison sentence imposed on Kara-Murza, a term of imprisonment that exceeds the penalties for most real criminals – murderers, bandits, drug dealers, and rapists. The term, in fact, equated to life imprisonment, given Vladimir’s state of health and the situation in Russian camps and prisons.

But it is also clear that all the prison terms so generously handed out to the opponents of Putin’s regime will in fact amount to a lifetime of imprisonment for the regime itself. Our comrades in arms, thrown into the dungeons of Putin’s executioners, will remain there as long as Putin himself and the totalitarian system he created remain in power. The downfall of the regime would also mean the destruction of its repressive system. With the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners and their rehabilitation. Everything possible must be done to ensure that this moment comes as soon as possible!

While remembering the victims of repression, it is important not to forget the executioners! We declare openly and directly that none of those who have become cogs of Putin’s punitive system will escape responsibility. All those involved in the political persecution of the opposition, from simple investigators to the judges of the highest instance who confirm the convictions, will be identified and put on our “Putin List”, with subsequent inclusion in the sanctions lists of the countries of the Free World. And after the imminent collapse of Putin’s regime, they will stand trial and receive just punishment. There will be no statute of limitations for such crimes!

It should be noted that Judge Podoprigorov and Prosecutor Loktionov, in prosecuting Kara-Murza, are already on the Magnitsky list in the US, which does not exempt them from other forms of liability for prosecuting a person who is known to be innocent. Sanctions in other countries and a court verdict in a future free Russia await them.

In the meantime, we demand the release of Vladimir Kara-Murza and other political prisoners! Freedom to political prisoners!

Free Russia Forum

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