Britain imposes sanctions on Russian figures involved in the imprisonment of Putin critic Kara-Murza

Britain imposed sanctions on Friday on a Russian judge and four others involved in the arrest and alleged poisoning of Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza, who was jailed this week for 25 years for treason and other offences.

Kara-Murza, a 41-year-old opposition politician with Russian and British passports, has spoken out against President Vladimir Putin for years and successfully pressured Western governments to impose sanctions on Moscow and Russian individuals over alleged human rights abuses.

Kara-Murza said his conviction – the harshest of its kind since the Russian invasion of Ukraine last February – was politically motivated.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “Russia’s treatment and sentencing of Vladimir Kara-Murza once again demonstrates Russia’s violation of fundamental human rights.”

“The UK will continue to support Mr Kara-Murza and his family. I call on Russia to release him immediately and unconditionally.”

Britain imposed sanctions on Elena Lenskaya, the judge who allegedly approved the arrest of Kara-Murza, and the two investigators involved in the arrest – Denis Kolesnikov and Andrey Zadashin.

Twice, in 2015 and 2017, Kara-Murza suddenly fell ill in what he said was poisoned by the Russian security services.

The new British sanctions also target two FSB agents – Alexander Samoval and Konstantin Kudryavtsev – who are said to have been involved in poisonings. Russian authorities deny involvement in the poisonings.

Britain and other Western countries condemned the conviction of Kara-Murza. This criticism prompted Russia to invite British, American and Canadian ambassadors to a meeting on Tuesday.

All sanctioned persons will receive a UK travel ban and asset freeze, which is a type of sanction that limits UK entities’ financial dealings with sanctioned persons.

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Megan Vasquez

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