The Russian Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva received a letter from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk, a letter in which Türk condemned the 25-year prison sentence against outspoken Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza.
Kara-Murza, 41, holds both Russian and British passports and has spent years as a politician opposing Russian President Vladimir Putin and lobbied foreign governments and institutions to impose sanctions on Russia and individual Russians for purported human rights violations.
"We are grateful to Mr. Türk for his close attention paid to domestic affairs in our country and the prompt comments," Russian Ambassador Gennady Gatilov said in a statement. "Undoubtedly, taking into account the principle of neutrality of the UN bodies, his Office must have already written and sent out similar letters to the permanent missions of the US and France."
Ambassador @GGatilov: Our Mission received a letter from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights @volker_turk condemning the verdict against Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian citizen convicted i.a. of treason. ✊ We are grateful to Mr. Türk for his close attention paid… pic.twitter.com/EGTS7lvAse— Russian Mission in Geneva (@mission_russian) April 20, 2023
"It is regrettable that Mr. Türk persistently continues to exemplify notorious 'double standards' and political bias towards the countries regarded as 'objectionable' by the specific group of Western states," he continued. "This once again casts doubt on the impartiality of the High Commissioner and his Office."
Countries condemning Russia's decision
The British government summoned the Russian ambassador to make clear its condemnation of what it described as the "politically motivated" conviction and sentencing of outspoken Kara-Murza, a British dual national.
The German foreign ministry sharply condemns the sentencing of Kara-Murza, a spokesperson for the ministry said on Monday during a government press conference.
The United Nations human rights chief called on Moscow to free Kara-Murza.
"No one should be deprived of their liberty for exercising their human rights, and I call on the Russian authorities to release him without delay," said Volker Turk in a statement.
He added that the sentence was "another blow to the rule of law and civic space in the Russian Federation".
The United States condemns the sentencing of Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza for "speaking out against the Russian government’s war of aggression against Ukraine," the US State Department said in a statement on Monday.
"Mr. Kara-Murza is yet another target of the Russian government’s escalating campaign of repression," the department said after Russia sentenced Kara-Murza to 25 years in prison on treason and other charges earlier on Monday.
France's foreign ministry on Monday condemned the sentencing of Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza to 25 years in prison for treason, saying the Russian justice system had become a tool for oppression.
It added that the sentencing was another illustration of the Russian authorities' campaign of repression against all voices critical of the Russian leadership and its war of aggression against Ukraine.
Norway's foreign ministry on Monday condemned the sentencing of Kremlin critic and human rights activist Vladimir Kara-Murza to 25 years in prison.
"This is a deeply alarming and harsh sentence for exercising the right to freedom of expression," Norwegian foreign minister Anniken Huitfeldt said in a statement.
Who is Kara-Murza?
Father of three and former journalist was jailed for 25 years by a Russian court after they found him guilty of treason and other offenses he denied.
State prosecutors accused him of treason and of discrediting the Russian military after he criticized what Moscow calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine.
Hours before his arrest, Kara-Murza told CNN in an interview, alleging that Russia was being run by a "regime of murderers. He had also used speeches in the United States and across Europe to accuse Moscow of bombing civilian targets in Ukraine, a charge it has rejected.
In his final speech to the court, Kara-Murza had compared his own trial, which was held behind closed doors, to Josef Stalin's show trials in the 1930s and had declined to ask the court to acquit him, saying he stood by and was proud of everything he had said.