MEMPHIS — Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), co-chair of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today expressed concern over how Russia is handling the case against opposition leader and journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza. With five days remaining on his 15-day sentence for disobeying police orders, Russian authorities today unveiled new criminal charges against Kara-Murza which allege he disseminated false information about the Russian army which could result in a ten-year prison sentence. Putin recently enacted laws prohibiting accurate reporting of the war in Ukraine as war.
Mr. Kara-Murza testified before the Helsinki Commission last month about Vladimir Putin’s war on truth.
Co-Chair Cohen made the following statement:
“I must say that I am saddened but not surprised by this terrible but expected news. Mr. Kara-Murza has been a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin, his war in Ukraine and his ongoing war on truth. Putin’s goal is to keep the Russian people in the dark about the atrocities his armies are committing in Ukraine and the harm his authoritarian regime is doing to Russia. Silencing Mr. Kara-Murza helps achieve this goal. It is also further proof that he cannot tolerate a free press, freedom of speech or freedom of thought. As Mr. Kara-Murza himself described, Russia now looks like a scene from George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. This situation further emphasizes the importance for Ukraine of winning the war before that it does not extend to other parts of Eastern Europe and directly involve NATO. The whole world is watching: Mr. Kara-Murza must be released.
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