Ilya Yashin urges world leaders to seek urgent release for Vladimir Kara-Murza

Jailed Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin spoke on Friday of his concern for the safety of fellow imprisoned political activist Vladimir Kara-Murza in light of Alexey Navalny’s sudden death on 16 February.

Yashin, who is currently serving an 8.5-year prison sentence for “spreading falsehoods about the Russian army”, wrote that Navalny’s death had made it “obvious that the life of every Russian political prisoner is under threat”, adding that he was especially concerned about Kara-Murza.

Kara-Murza, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for treason in April, is serving his sentence at a high-security prison in the Siberian city of Omsk.

Yashin also pointed to several other similarities between Navalny and Kara-Murza. Both men, he said, created “personal problems” for members of Putin’s inner circle, in Kara-Murza’s case by lobbying for targeted sanctions against the Russian elite. Both had been subjected to unusually harsh treatment in prison, Yashin added, spending extensive time in punishment cells and suffering serious health consequences as a result. Both men also survived direct poisoning attempts by the FSB.

“Almost all Western readers spoke out about Navalny’s death, blaming Putin for this tragedy,” Yashin wrote in an open letter to world leaders. “Prove your good will and use all your diplomatic resources to attain the immediate release of Kara-Murza. Do this before it’s too late.”

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