Shaheen, Ricketts Condemn Sham Trial & Sentencing of Pro-Democracy Russian Activist Vladimir Kara-Murza
(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Pete Ricketts (R-NE) – Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation – issued the following joint statement in response to Russian officials sentencing pro-democracy activist Vladimir Kara-Murza to twenty-five years in prison:
“Vladimir Kara-Murza’s arbitrary arrest, year-long detention and harsh sentencing today send a message to the world about the price that brave pro-democracy activists in Russia are paying to demand a better future for the Russian people. The United States and global community knew this would be a sham trial from the very beginning, but this obscene punishment for Kara-Murza’s political advocacy epitomizes Putin’s weakness and fear of the growing opposition from his own people to his autocratic rule and barbaric war in Ukraine,” said Shaheen and Ricketts. “We will continue to advocate for Kara-Murza and all political prisoners, including Americans Evan Gershkovich, Paul Whelan and others who have been illegally targeted and held by the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin and those complicit in these crimes must be held to account.”
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 against 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 and Ricketts helped lead a bipartisan resolution earlier this month 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 political prisoners being unjustly detained, including calling for an international response to Russia’s mistreatment of Alexei Navalny.