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Russia Rejects Appeal from Putin Critic Kara-Murza, Jailed for 25 Years

Russian political activist Vladimir Kara-Murza in court. Gleb Shchelkunov / Kommersant

A Russian court on Monday dismissed dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza's appeal against the 25-year prison sentence he received for criticizing the offensive in Ukraine. 

Kara-Murza received the longest sentence against a Russian opposition figure in recent years, drawing immediate condemnation from Western countries. 

"The verdict of the Moscow City Court from April 17 shall be left unchanged," the court said Monday, according to Russian state-run news agencies. 

A Moscow court had found the 41-year-old guilty of treason, spreading "false" information about the Russian army and having links to an "undesirable organization" after a closed-door trial. 

Kara-Murza suffers from a nerve condition called polyneuropathy, which his lawyers say is due to two poisoning attempts in 2015 and 2017. 

The condition has worsened in prison, his lawyer said. 

Kara-Murza has over the years pleaded in the United States and Europe for the adoption of individual sanctions against Russian officials.

In his last words in court in April, Kara-Murza stood by his political work, including his comments on the offensive in Ukraine.

"Not only do I not repent for any of it — I am proud of it," he said.

After the verdict, the United States slammed Russia's "escalating campaign of repression."

Most opponents have either fled Russia or are behind bars, and thousands of ordinary Russians have been detained for protesting the conflict.

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