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Russian dissident Kara-Murza transferred to punishment cell in new prison, his lawyer says

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 30, 2024 1:04 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 Oct. 10, 2022. (Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP via Getty Images)
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Jailed Russian journalist and opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza has been transferred to a punishment block in a new penal colony in the Russian city of Omsk, independent Russian news outlet Novaya Gazeta reported on Jan. 30, citing his lawyer.

Kara-Murza, who has condemned Russia's all-out war in Ukraine and lobbied for Western sanctions against Moscow, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in April 2023.

According to Novaya Gazeta, Kara-Murza told his lawyer, Maria Eismont, that the move was a punishment for not standing up at the right time, which the authorities had considered a "malicious violation."

Kara-Murza was reportedly sent to a type of punishment cell known by its Russian initials as an EPKT, the strictest form of isolation from other prisoners. Kara-Murza said he would have to spend there four months.

The dissident's wife, Evgenia Kara-Murza, said on Jan. 29 that he had been moved from his previous prison in Omsk to an unknown location. Omsk is the regional capital of Russia's Omsk region, located in Siberia.

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In a similar case, the family and team of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny lost contact with him for almost three weeks in December after he was transferred to a different penal colony.

The disappearance prompted concerns about the state of Navalny's health amid an intensifying crackdown on the opposition by Russian leader Vladimir Putin in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election.

Kara-Murza was arrested in Russia on April 11, 2022, and charged with "treason," "spreading false information" about the Russian military and belonging to an "undesirable" foreign organization. He denied all the charges.

Kara-Murza, who is also a British citizen, went on to liken his trial to that of the show trials in the 1930s during the Stalinist purges and that he only regretted the failure on his part of convincing people of the threat Putin posed.

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