The 40-year-old Putin critic, who previously survived two poisonings, in 2015 and 2017, said the Kremlin orchestrated them in response to his call for Western sanctions against the Russian government.
Russia has denied it was the source of the poisonings that left Kara-Murza in a coma on both occasions. But investigations by independent organizations found that he was followed by members of the same federal agency that allegedly poisoned imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and at least three other opposition figures.
His wife, Evgenia Kara-Morza, confirmed his arrest in a tweet late Monday. “The Russian authorities twice tried to kill my husband for calling for punishments for thieves and murderers, and now they want to throw him in prison because he called their bloody war a war”, I wrote. “I demand the immediate release of my husband!”
“Following the poisonings and other serious threats, this disgraceful arrest is the latest step in Vladimir Putin’s ongoing efforts to silence Kara Murza and conceal the truth about the atrocities that Putin is committing in the name of the Russian people,” said Post publisher Fred Ryan. In a statement praising the courage of the writer. “No one should be deceived by the trumped-up charges and defamation of the Russian government, and Kara-Murza must be released immediately.”
Kara Morza is a longtime colleague of the late Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated outside the Kremlin in 2015. Kara Morza is a writer, documentary director and former candidate for the Russian parliament, and served as the deputy leader of a political organization, the People’s Freedom Party.
He played a key role in persuading the United States, the European Union, Canada and Britain to adopt penal laws in 2012, known as the Magnitsky Act, that target individuals in Russia and elsewhere who are complicit in human rights abuses.
Kara Morza has wrote dozens of columns For the Global Opinions section of The Post for the past few years that has been critical of the Russian government.
“Within one week, all – literally, everyone The remaining independent Russian media voices were silenced in a coordinated effort by the Prosecutor General’s Office and the main state oversight agency,” Written in the March 7 column. “One by one, media outlets that dared to truthfully report on Putin’s attack on Ukraine had their flags cut off and their websites blocked.”
His arrest follows the Kremlin Severe repression of independent media and the opposition in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s parliament last month enacted a law punishable by up to 15 years in prison for spreading what it considers “false” news about the military, including calling the invasion of Ukraine an “invasion”.
With other opposition figures fleeing the country, Kara-Murza was one of the few who remained in Russia.
In an interview that aired Monday on CNN+, the network’s new broadcast service, Kara Morza said, “I have no doubt that the Putin regime will end because of this war in Ukraine.”
He described Putin’s government as “a regime of killers. It’s important that you say it out loud. It’s really tragic, I have no other word for this, that it took a full-scale war in Central Europe, which Vladimir Putin is now waging against Ukraine, for most Western leaders to open up.” Their eyes are finally on the true nature of this system.”
He added defiantly: “The biggest gift … we can give the Kremlin will be to those of us who oppose Putin’s regime, and we can give it up and run. That’s all they want from us.”
Russian human rights organization OVD-Info said police officers took Kara Morza to a police station in central Moscow, where he was being held in a 15-day administrative prison for disobeying police orders. The organization cited his lawyer, Vadim Prokhorov.
Kara Morza is the third writer associated with The Post to face arrest and persecution at the hands of a foreign government in recent years.
Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi writer and dissident, was also a contributor to World Views when he was murdered in October 2018 by Saudi agents at that country’s consulate in Istanbul. The CIA concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of Khashoggi, a conclusion later confirmed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights after a six-month investigation.
Jason Rezaianthe Washington Post correspondent in Tehran from 2012 to 2016, spent 544 days in prison in Iran without trial before being released in early 2016. Rezaian is now a writer for Global Opinions.
CNN, which aired the interview with Kara Morza, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This article has been updated with new information and comments.
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