UK extends sanctions for prosecution of Vladimir Kara-Murza

The UK has imposed sanctions against six Russian citizens after approving the sentence of opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza.

The blacklist included participants in the trial of the politician: judges Vitalii Belitsky, Yekaterina Dorokhina and Natalia Dudar, prosecutors Boris Loktionov and Anna Potychko. The restrictions also affected forensic expert Danila Mikheyev, who claimed that Kara-Murza was spreading “fakes” about the actions of the Russian army in Ukraine. All of them were banned from coming to the UK and having assets in the country.

On April 17, Moscow City Court sentenced Kara-Murza to 25 years in a strict regime colony with a fine of 400 thousand rubles and a ban on journalistic activities for seven years. The opposition activist was found guilty of state treason, spreading “fakes” about the army and participation in an “undesirable” organization.

On July 31, the First Court of Appeal of General Jurisdiction rejected the appeal against the verdict. The hearing was held in closed mode, as the materials of the criminal case are classified. The defense demanded to acquit the politician.

Kara-Murza was arrested last April for disobeying the police. Soon he was charged in a criminal case for “fakes” about the Russian army, and then another for his work with the Open Russia Foundation. In October, the oppositionist was charged with “state treason” for speaking abroad.

Kara-Murza is known for having secured the passage of the Magnitsky Act in the United States, which imposes an entry ban and asset freeze on Russian officials responsible for gross human rights violations. The Magnitsky Act was directly implicated in the criminal case, and the trial was presided over by Sergei Podoprigorov, a judge directly from the Magnitsky List.

In April, Britain imposed sanctions against five Russians involved in the prosecution of Kara-Murza. The blacklist included FSB officers Aleksandr Samofal and Konstantin Kudryavtsev. As Insider and the investigative group Bellingcat found out, the law enforcers were engaged in surveillance of the oppositionist and made two attempts to poison him in 2015 and in 2017.

In addition, London imposed restrictions on Judge Yelena Lenskaya, who handed down the verdict, as well as investigators Denis Kolesnikov and Andrei Zadachin, involved in the arrest of Kara-Murza.

In June, the Council of the European Union imposed sanctions in connection with the oppositionist’s case: nine Russians, including Deputy Justice Minister Oleg Sviridenko and Khamovnicheskiy court judge Diana Mishchenko, were on the stop list.

In March, Sviridenko, Lenskaya and Mishchenko fell under similar U.S. sanctions. After the opposition member was sentenced, Latvia banned 10 Russians from entering the country and Lithuania banned 15.

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