Eswatini Daily News

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain on Friday sanctioned a Russian judge and four others linked to the arrest and alleged poisonings of Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza who was jailed for 25 years this week for treason and other offences.

Kara-Murza, a 41-year-old opposition politician who holds both Russian and British passports, spoke out against President Vladimir Putin for years and had successfully lobbied Western governments to impose sanctions on Moscow and individual Russians for purported human rights violations.

Kara-Murza has said his sentencing – the harshest of its kind since Russia invaded Ukraine last February – was politically motivated.

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“Russia’s treatment and conviction of Vladimir Kara-Murza once again demonstrates its utter contempt for basic human rights,” British foreign minister James Cleverly said.

“The UK will continue to support Mr Kara-Murza and his family. I call on Russia to release him immediately and unconditionally.”

Britain imposed sanctions on Elena Lenskaya, a judge who it said had approved Kara-Murza’s arrest, and two investigators involved in the arrest – Denis Kolesnikov and Andrei Zadachin.

Twice, in 2015 and 2017, Kara-Murza fell suddenly ill in what he said were poisonings by the Russian security services.

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The new British sanctions also target two agents at Russia’s FSB security service – Alexander Samofal and Konstantin Kudryavtsev – who it said were involved in poisonings. Russian authorities have denied involvement in any poisonings.

Britain, along with other Western countries, has condemned the sentencing of Kara-Murza. This criticism prompted Russia to summon the British, U.S. and Canadian ambassadors for a dressing down on Tuesday.

All sanctioned individuals will be subject to British travel bans and asset freezes, a type of sanction which limits financial dealings by UK entities with those sanctioned.

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