UK sanctions six Russian officials as jailed British dissident's appeal rejected by Moscow judge

31 July 2023, 18:42 | Updated: 31 July 2023, 18:48

Rishi Sunak has condemned the treatment of Vladimir Kara-Murza
Rishi Sunak has condemned the treatment of Vladimir Kara-Murza. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

A British-Russian dissident jailed for opposing the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine has had his appeal rejected by a Moscow court.

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Vladimir Kara-Murza was convicted of treason and spreading false information about the Russian army in April.

He described the process as a "show trial".

After Mr Kara-Murza's appeal was rejected by judges in Moscow on Monday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called the decision "desperate and unfounded".

He wrote on Twitter: "Rejecting @vkaramurza's appeal is unjustifiable. He should be released immediately. The United Kingdom stands with him and his family."

Mr Kara-Murza is a well-known opponent of Vladimir Putin's regime. He has survived two poisonings that left him in a coma, in 2015 and 2017. He criticised the Kremlin after the death of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov.

Read more: 'No other word than weak': Wife of Putin opponent jailed for 25 years slams UK government's response to husband's arrest

Read more: 'They've tried to kill him twice!': James O'Brien left 'disgusted' by Vladimir Kara-Murza arrest

Vladimir Kara-Murza on Monday
Vladimir Kara-Murza on Monday. Picture: Alamy

The UK Government confirmed it has sanctioned six individuals, including two Moscow city court judges, for their involvement in the conviction of Mr Kara-Murza. They will be subject to travel bans and asset freezes.

The individuals were named as: Vitaly Alexsandrovich Belitsky and Ekaterina Mikhailovna Dorokhina, both Moscow city court judges; Natalia Nikolaevna Dudar, a Basmanny district court judge; Boris Georgievich Loktionov, the lead prosecutor in the trial; Danila Yurievich Mikheev, described as an expert witness for the Russian government; and Anna Evgenievna Potychko, a prosecutor.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: "The rejection of Vladimir Kara-Murza's appeal following his sentencing on bogus charges highlights the depravity of the Russian regime, and their complete disregard for human rights and freedom of expression.

Mr Kara-Murza at his sentencing in April
Mr Kara-Murza at his sentencing in April. Picture: Alamy

"Today we've sanctioned six people connected with his case, sending a clear message that the UK will not stand for this treatment of one of its citizens.

"We will continue to support Mr Kara-Murza and his family, who have worked tirelessly to try and secure his release. I call on Russia to release him immediately and unconditionally."

In April, the UK sanctioned five people - including two Russian spies - for their involvement in arresting Mr Kara-Murza.