Russian-British activist faces 20-year sentence for ‘treason’ – media
Opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza has been charged with treason over alleged cooperation with organizations based in NATO member states, several media outlets reported on Thursday, citing sources in law enforcement.
Kara Murza, who holds both British and Russian citizenship, is reportedly suspected of aiding and abetting foreign powers hostile to Russia.
The activist is "vice president" of the Washington-based "Free Russia Foundation," a US-government funded pressure group which pushes for "regime change" in Moscow.
According to newspaper Izvestia, investigators claimed that he had consulted for people working for foreign intelligence services and was paid $30,000 per month for his services.
Sources cited by RT Russian and TASS claimed that Kara-Murza was for years involved with organizations based in NATO member states and had helped them undermine Russian national security. RT’s source named the same sum of monetary compensation that Kara-Murza had allegedly received.
Russian prosecutors believe that they can prove that the activist’s actions constitute a crime of state treason, the outlets said. The felony is punishable by a prison term of up to 20 years.
Kara-Murza has long been a prominent member of anti-government political forces in Russia. He also garnered the attention of Western press for surviving two alleged poisonings, which he and other critics of the Russian government claimed to have been assassination attempts and connected with his criticism of the authorities.
The 41-year-old has been held in Russian custody since late April, as law enforcement investigate him for allegedly slandering the country’s armed forces. The case is based on a speech that he delivered before the Arizona state Congress in March, where he accused Russian troops in Ukraine of alleged war crimes.
Kara-Murza has permanent resident status in the US, according to Western media. The Russian Justice Ministry designated him an individual acting as a foreign agent on the day he was arrested.