Jailed Putin critic Kara-Murza wins Council of Europe human rights prize

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Issued on: 10/10/2022 – 13:57

Jailed Russian opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza is the winner of this year’s Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said on Monday.


“It takes incredible courage in today’s Russia to stand against the power in place. Today, Mr Kara-Murza is showing this courage, from his prison cell,” PACE president Tiny Kox said. 

Kara-Murza, long bitterly critical of President Vladimir Putin, was jailed in April for denouncing the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine and has now been charged with high treason which could see him imprisoned for two decades.

“The current Russian authorities — without intending to do so — have painted the portrait of a true patriot. Vladimir Putin’s government sees such people as traitors,” Kara-Murza’s wife Yevgeniya said as she received the award on his behalf.

“Well, I could not be prouder of my partner, my best friend, the father of my children.”

She read a statement her husband had written to acknowledge the award from jail.

“With the start of Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, he launched a war on truth in our country,” Vladimir Kara-Murza said. 

“In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, speaking the truth is considered a crime against the state.”

He said that he dedicated the award to other political prisoners in Russia and the money that comes with it would go into a fund for their families.

The prize is named after the former Czech dissident and playwright who became president of the Czech Republic with the fall of Communism.

The award comes after the Russian rights group Memorial was a co-winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.