Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UK and others call for immediate humanitarian release of Vladimir Kara-Murza: Joint Statement to the OSCE [April 2024]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 11 April 2024.

UK and other OSCE participating States call for immediate release of Vladimir Kara-Murza and denounce the degrading and inhumane conditions in which he is held.

Thank you, Madam Chair. I am delivering this statement on behalf of Canada, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, the United States and my own country the United Kingdom.

Today marks the second anniversary of the arrest of dual British-Russian national Vladimir Kara-Murza.

Mr Kara-Murza is a champion of human rights. He strives for a democratic Russia and opposes the illegal invasion of Ukraine. He was arrested and later sentenced to 25 years in prison for engaging in legitimate criticism of the political situation in Russia.

Since then, the Russian authorities have callously disregarded Mr Kara-Murza’s declining health, refusing him the urgent medical treatment he so desperately needs. Having been poisoned in 2015 and 2017, his degrading and inhumane prison conditions are clearly designed to inflict further damage to both his physical and mental health.

Two years since his arrest, we urge the Russian authorities to release him immediately on humanitarian grounds.

As this Council knows only too well, the human rights situation in Russia has deteriorated significantly in the past two years. The authorities have persisted in severely curtailing the freedoms of association, assembly and expression. And Russia continues to fail to uphold fundamental human dimension commitments.

Working together, the UK and others will continue to hold Russia to account through the OSCE as well as other international fora. In particular, we look forward to discussing the Moscow Mechanism expert report on allegations of arbitrary detention of Ukrainian civilians by the Russian Federation in this Council.

And we recall the invocation of the Vienna Mechanism by 41 participating States on 22 March 2024 in respect of serious human rights concerns including political repression as well as torture and mistreatment of prisoners in Russia.

The United Kingdom and Canada, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the United States stand united in calling for Mr Kara-Murza’s immediate humanitarian release as well as the release of those imprisoned in Russia on political grounds.

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.