The US Treasury Department Friday sanctioned six people involved in the arbitrary detention of Russian war critic Vladimir Kara-Murza. Kara-Murza is currently detained in a Russian prison awaiting trial on several criminal charges, which the US claimed are the product of the “Kremlin manipulating Russia’s legal system to silence dissent.”Kara-Murza is a prominent Russian dissident, political activist, writer and democratic spokesperson. He has been lauded abroad for persisting in his fight against the current regime despite alleged attempts to poison and assassinate him. In April 2022, Russia’s Justice Ministry designated Kara-Murza a “foreign agent,” which subjected him to elaborate financial disclosures and oversight of his public messages. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Kara-Murza has strongly spoken out against the Russian bombing of Ukrainian residential areas and civilian infrastructure. Now Kara-Murza is charged with spreading “disinformation,” involvement in an “undesirable” foreign organization and high treason.The six Russian individuals sanctioned span the Russian judiciary and witnesses testifying for the prosecution against Kara-Murza. Three of the individuals–Elena Anatolievna Lenskaya, Andrei Andreevich Zadachin and Danila Yurievich Mikheev–are sanctioned under US Executive Order (EO) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. The US adopted EO 13818 to penalize individuals found or believed to be responsible for human rights abuses and corruption.All three individuals are sanctioned for their role in prosecuting Kara-Murza. Lenskaya served as the judge of the Moscow court who ordered Kara-Murza to serve pre-trial detention, where he still remains today. Zadachin ordered the initiation of the criminal proceedings against Kara-Murza. And Mikheev served as an expert witness in the Russian government’s case against Kara-Murza and was instrumental in “providing a report that served as part of the basis on which Lenskaya ordered Kara-Murza to be held.”The three other individuals the US sanctioned–Oleg Mikhailovich Sviridenko, Diana Igorevna Mishchenko and Ilya Pavlovich Kozlov–are sanctioned under EO 14024. All three of the individuals are leaders within the Russian government who furthered the prosecution of Kara-Murza. Unlike EO 13818, EO 14024 is broader in that it applies to any “harmful foreign activities” committed by Russian government officials.Regardless of which EO the US used to sanction the individuals, all six are subject to the same limitations. Discussing the sanctions, US Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said “Kara-Murza, Alexei Navalny, and so many others in Russia who are unjustly imprisoned are not forgotten, and we will continue to promote accountability for perpetrators of these abuses on the international stage.” Nelson also echoed other countries’ calls for Kara-Murza’s immediate and unconditional release.
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