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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
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.
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.
"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.