Shaheen, Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Call on Kremlin to Free Wrongfully Detained Pro-Democracy Activist Vladimir Kara-Murza
**70 members of Congress call on U.S. State Department to designate Russian dissident and U.S. legal permanent resident as wrongfully detained.**
(Washington, DC) - This week, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter with a bipartisan, bicameral group of 70 U.S. lawmakers to the U.S. State Department urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to designate U.S. Legal Permanent Resident and Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza as “unlawfully and wrongfully detained” under the Levinson Act (22 U.S.C. 1741 et seq.).
The lawmakers wrote, in part, “A 41-year old anti-Putin politician, journalist, and filmmaker, he was arrested on his trip to Russia because he used a series of speeches around the world to publicly oppose political repression in Russia and the invasion of Ukraine. After his arrest, he was charged with treason...Since his arrest in April 2022, Mr. Kara-Murza has suffered from unjust treatment. His health has declined, and he has lost 40 pounds. As a result of two poisonings President Putin inflicted on him during trips to Russia in 2015 and 2017, he had already been diagnosed with polyneuropathy...it is very likely he will die soon unless he is released.”
The lawmakers concluded, “It is in the U.S. national interest to save his life and liberate him from Russian captivity. As a first step to that end, we strongly urge that he be designated under the Levinson Act as ‘unlawfully and wrongfully detained.”
Senator Shaheen has led efforts to hold Russia accountable for its aggression through her role on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She was sanctioned by the Kremlin in 2017 for her outspoken criticism of Russia. Shaheen has repeatedly pushed for Kara-Murza's release and accountability for Russian officials complicit in his poisoning and jailing, sending a letter last year with a bipartisan group of Senators that called for Magnitsky law-related sanctions against those individuals. Shaheen has met with Kara-Murza's wife, Evgenia, to discuss efforts to secure his release. Shaheen and U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE) issued a joint statement earlier this month condemning Kara-Murza's sham trial that resulted in a 25-year sentence. Shaheen previously helped lead a bipartisan resolution recognizing the one-year anniversary of his detention, condemning the inhumane treatment of Kara-Murza by Russian authorities and urging for increased U.S. government support to the Russian opposition. Shaheen has long been an advocate for the release of political prisoners unjustly detained, including calling for an international response to Russia’s mistreatment of Alexei Navalny.
The full letter can be read in full here.