'I'll fight to get him home': Wife of jailed Putin critic says his 'life is in danger'

24 May 2022, 19:21 | Updated: 24 May 2022, 20:09

Andrew Marr speaks to the wife of Vladimir Kara-Murza

By Megan Hinton

The wife of a Putin critic, who is facing up to 10-years in prison for speaking out against the invasion of Ukraine, has vowed to "fight for as long as it takes" to bring her husband home.

British citizen Vladimir Kara-Murza, who previously survived two suspected poisonings in Russia, was detained outside his home in Moscow on April 11.

His wife Evgenia Kara-Murza told LBC that she has "every reason" to believe her husband's life could be in danger whilst he is kept detained in Moscow.

Speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr, Mrs Kara-Murza said: "I would love to ask for more support and help from the British Government for my husband's case because Vladimir was already a victim of two attempts on his life in the past.

"I have every reason to believe that my husband's life and health are in danger because he is basically being kept in prison behind bars by the people who had tried to kill him twice in the past."

Mr Kara-Murza survived two poisoning attempts that he and reporters say was carried out by the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB – the successor to the notorious KGB.

He was in a work meeting in Moscow in May 2015 when he began to feel sick suddenly before he lost consciousness.

He fell into a coma and was put on life support and it was revealed he had been poisoned.

He believes he was lucky to survive.

A second attempt was made in February 2017, he said. He says there is a "death squad" in the FSB responsible for "liquidating" Putin’s opponents.

When asked about what awaits her husband should the father-of-three be sentenced to 10 years in prison, Mrs Kara-Murza explained: “We never know, because we are talking about today’s Russia.

"There is no real justice system left in Russia. No independent justice system.

"So the authorities can actually do whatever they want and the sentence is known before the court trial actually begins."

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Ilya Yashin, an opposition colleague of Kara-Murza and former head of the Krasnoselsky municipal district in Moscow, wrote on Twitter at the time of his arrest: "Vladimir Kara-Murza was detained by the police in Moscow near his home. What exactly is presented is still unknown."

He later added: "Apparently, Kara-Murza was taken to the Khamovniki police department, where lawyer V. Prokhorov is going. I can assume that the detention is related to an administrative case (in the case of a criminal case, there would be a search and interrogation in the ICR). Most likely, we are talking about some kind of anti-war statement in the press or in social networks."

Speaking to LBC's Andrew Marr just two weeks prior to his arrest, Mr Kara-Murza said he was worried that, having seen the way some Western nations have dealt with the Russian regime in the past, some may still have an appetite to "appease" the Kremlin.

And had the West taken actions he called for in the past, he believed the bloodshed in Ukraine could have been avoided.

Speaking about the sanctions, he told Andrew: "The effect has been swift, and the effect has been powerful, I can tell you the last time I saw empty food shelves in shops in Moscow was as a child in the Soviet Union.

"I saw them again for the first time in the beginning of March. So you can see this very vividly and, and the Russian economy is going to suffer greatly because of this."