A Russian court on Monday sentenced one of the Kremlin's most prominent critics, Vladimir Kara-Murza, to 25 years in prison, after what was widely seen as a show trial. This marks the longest prison sentence ever handed down against an opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Kara-Murza, 41, was charged with treason and spreading false information after he repeatedly criticized Russia's war in Ukraine. He has maintained his innocence from the start, and denied any wrongdoing.
In a statement prior to his sentencing, printed in The Washington Post, Kara-Murza said, "I do not repent any of this, I am proud of it." He added, "I know that the day will come when the darkness engulfing our country will clear. Our society will open its eyes and shudder when it realizes what crimes were committed in its name."
He is slated to serve his sentence in a "strict regime correctional colony" and will be fined $4,900.
Kara-Murza, a dual British-Russian citizen, works as a pro-democracy journalist and is also a contributing writer for the Post. Prior to his arrest in April 2022, he survived poisonings in 2015 and 2017 that he attributed to the Kremlin.
The sentence was decried by Western nations. The U.S. State Department released a statement calling Kara-Murza "yet another target of the Russian government's escalating campaign of repression" and urged for him to be released. The U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it "considers Kara-Murza's conviction to be contrary to Russia's international obligations on human rights, including the right to a fair trial."
Putin is known for having his critics imprisoned, and is suspected of having gone much further — Insider compiled a list of 13 dissidents who are thought to have been assassinated by Putin's regime.