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Australia sanctions 13 Russians over poisoning, jailing of dissident Kara-Murza

by Martin Fornusek December 7, 2023 12:35 PM 2 min read
Russian opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza sits on a bench inside a defendants' cage during a hearing at the Basmanny court in Moscow on October 10, 2022. (Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP via Getty Images)
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Australia had imposed sanctions on 13 Russian individuals in connection to the poisoning, arrest, and sentencing of the prominent Russian opposition figure, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced on Dec. 7.

An activist, journalist, and a long-time Kremlin critic, Kara-Murza was sentenced to 25 years in prison in April on politically motivated charges linked to his anti-war stances.

The Australian government imposed financial sanctions and travel bans on three Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agents in connection to the two near-fatal poisonings of the dissident in 2015 and 2017.

Kara-Murza said that the poisonings were connected to his political activities. Russian authorities denied any involvement while refusing to launch criminal proceedings in either case.

The investigative outlet Bellingcat found that FSB operatives were tailing the Kremlin critic shortly before each incident.

Australia had also imposed financial sanctions and travel bans on 10 individuals, including a Russian deputy minister, over the arrest, trial, and sentencing of the dissident.

The activist was arrested in April 2022 for allegedly disobeying police orders. His charges were later expanded by "discrediting" the Russian military (a criminal article used to suppress opposition to the invasion of Ukraine) and treason.

Kara-Murza's sentencing on April 2023 was broadly condemned abroad as politically motivated and a "travesty of justice."

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For many Ukrainians, watching queues of conscription-age Russians fleeing the specter of mobilization has proven bittersweet. Each body that crosses the border into Kazakhstan, Armenia, or Georgia is one less soldier to occupy Ukrainian soil. But why have the same crowds failed to appear at anti-wa…
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