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Twice-Poisoned Kremlin Critic Kara-Murza Detained in Moscow

Kara-Murza takes part at a video hearing by European Parliament Foreign affairs committee in Brussels, Belgium, Nov. 27 2020. EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET/TASS

A prominent Kremlin critic who survived two suspected poisonings and spoke out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been jailed after being detained outside his home, his allies and media reported late Monday.

News of Vladimir Kara-Murza’s arrest came shortly after an interview in which he expressed opposition to President Vladimir Putin’s military campaign.

“I have absolutely no doubt that the Putin regime will end over this war in Ukraine,” Kara-Murza, 40, told CNN.

Minutes later, opposition figure Ilya Yashin tweeted that Kara-Murza was detained on unknown charges and taken to a police station in central Moscow.

On Tuesday, a Moscow court handed Kara-Murza a 15-day administrative jail sentence on charges of disobeying police orders.

Kara-Murza was denied access to his lawyer following his detention, independent police-monitoring website OVD-Info reported. It later added that Kara-Murza was kept in detention overnight.

A group of supporters gathered outside the police station said they believe the authorities are “irritated” by Kara-Murza’s political activity and his calls for sanctions against Russia.

Kara-Murza maintains he was poisoned in Moscow in 2015 and 2017 as retaliation for his lobbying efforts in the West for U.S. and EU sanctions against Russian officials accused of human rights abuses. Russian authorities denied the poisonings, which Russian doctors had said originated from “unidentified substances.”

A 2021 investigation led by the Bellingcat investigative outlet alleged that Kara-Murza was likely tailed by the same Federal Security Service (FSB) chemical weapons squad that allegedly poisoned jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and at least three other opposition figures.

Lawmakers are currently seeking to pass legislation to make calls for sanctions against Russia punishable by up to 10 years in jail. Opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has faced a stiff crackdown, with jail terms of up to 15 years for “fake” information, online lists of “traitors,” assaults, and threatening messages smeared on their doors.

“The authorities are outraged by his courage,” Kara-Murza’s supporter Alexander Podrabinek told video news service Sota.

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