A Moscow court on Monday extended the pretrial detention period of prominent Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza until Aug. 27, Novaya Gazeta Europe reported, citing the court’s press service.
Kara-Murza, 41, was jailed in April last year for openly criticizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and was subsequently charged with high treason, an offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Before being charged with treason in October, Kara-Murza had already been facing two criminal cases, including one accusing him of spreading “falsehoods” about the Russian army and aiding the activities of an organization deemed “undesirable” by the authorities.
Kara-Murza, who has survived two attempted poisonings over the years, both of which he has blamed on the Kremlin, was also labeled a “foreign agent” in April last year.
His lawyer Vadim Prokhorov last week voiced fears for his client’s health, noting that Kara-Murza had lost the feeling in both of his feet in late February after being placed in a punishment cell for “lying on a bunk” after the morning alarm bell had been rung.
Declining the defense’s request that it examine Kara-Murza’s medical records confirming his diagnosis of polyneuropathy, the Moscow State Court on Monday also refused to revisit the decision to remand Kara-Murza in custody for the duration of his trial, according to Novaya Gazeta Europe.
Kara-Murza's pretrial detention had been due to expire on March 12, but as the next date of his trial was not scheduled until March 13, the authorities had to apply for an extension.
A long-time critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kara-Murza was a close associate of both murdered opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and, later, oligarch-turned-opposition-politician Mikhail Khodorkovsky. He served as vice-chairman of Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia Foundation, a civil society organization that was forced to disband in 2021 after being labeled “undesirable” by the Russian authorities.