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Jailed Putin opposition activist Kara-Murza missing after being ‘transferred’ to unknown location

Vladimir Kara-Murza’s location is currently unknown   (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Vladimir Kara-Murza’s location is currently unknown (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

A jailed Russian-British opposition activist who has been openly critical of the Kremlin has been moved to an unknown location, his family have said.

Vladimir Kara-Murza is currently serving a 25-year- sentence for treason and spreading “fake news” about the war in Ukraine and was being held in the IK-6 maximum security penal colony in Omsk, around 2,700 kilometres from Moscow.

The 42-year-old was arrested in April 2022 after openly criticising Putin’s invasion and was charged with spreading information about the Russian army and an affiliation with an “undesirable” organisation.

In a post on social media, his wife Yevgenia Kara-Murza said: “We just learned that after 4 months of solitary confinement my husband @vkaramurza ‘left’ (as put by an official) the strict-regime penal colony in Omsk in an unknown direction.”

Kara-Murza has been openly critical of Putin and the invasion of Ukraine (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Kara-Murza has been openly critical of Putin and the invasion of Ukraine (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Since being held in prison, his family have said his health has deteriorated as he suffers from an ongoing nerve condition due to two near-fatal poisonings in 2015 and 2017.

Before being imprisoned, Kara-Murza stood by his activism and his comments on Ukraine, telling the court: “Not only do I not repent for any of it - I am proud of it.”

In remarks posted online, he said: “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 realises what crimes were committed in its name.”

His sentence was one of the longest received by an opposition politician, with his lawyer reporting that he had been placed immediately into an isolation cell at the remote Siberian prison.

Russia’s penal system often takes weeks to transfer prisoners between jails, with families often kept in the dark and the whereabouts of their loved ones unknown.

This comes just weeks after prominent opposition activist Alexei Navalny went missing for three weeks until he was located in IK-3 penal colony, nicknamed ‘Polar Wolf’ due to its location in the Artic.