Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UK sanctions FSB agents and Russian investigators behind arrest of British-Russian national Vladimir Kara-Murza [April 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 21 April 2023.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has sanctioned five individuals connected to the poisoning and arrest of politician and journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza

  • Russian investigators and judge involved in Vladimir Kara-Murza’s arrest sanctioned
  • Two FSB agents connected to the 2015 and 2017 poisonings also sanctioned
  • The UK calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Kara-Murza

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has today, Friday 21 April, sanctioned five individuals connected to the poisoning and arrest of politician and journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza, days after his politically-motivated conviction in Russia.

On Monday, Mr Kara-Murza was sentenced to 25 years in prison for charges including treason and spreading ‘knowingly false information’ about the Russian armed forces. In reality, he bravely spoke the truth about Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Today, the UK is sanctioning Elena Lenskaya – a judge who approved Vladimir Kara-Murza’s arrest, along with Denis Kolesnikov and Andrei Zadachin – investigators involved in the arrest of Mr Kara-Murza.

FSB agents Alexander Samofal and Konstantin Kudryavtsev have also been sanctioned. The pair were members of the operational team which followed Mr Kara-Murza on multiple trips before he was poisoned both in 2015, three months after close friend and fellow opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was assassinated, and 2017.

Both have been sanctioned for their part in Russia’s egregious violation of Mr Kara-Murza’s right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:

Russia’s treatment and conviction of Vladimir Kara-Murza once again demonstrates its utter contempt for basic human rights.

Today five individuals connected to his case have been sanctioned, sending a clear message that the UK will not stand for this treatment of one of its citizens.

The UK will continue to support Mr Kara-Murza and his family. I call on Russia to release him immediately and unconditionally.

As a result of these sanctions all these individuals will be subject to travel bans and asset freezes.

On Monday the UK summoned the Russian Ambassador and condemned the sentencing – making it clear that the UK considers Mr Kara-Murza’s conviction to be contrary to Russia’s international obligations on human rights, including the right to a fair trial.

The UK has also previously sanctioned Sergei Podoprigorov, the judge who presided over Mr Kara-Murza’s trial, and Dmitry Komnov, the head of the detention centre where Mr Kara-Murza is being held.

In January, the Minister for Europe met Mr Kara-Murza’s wife to discuss his case and treatment. FCDO officials have attended Mr Kara-Murza’s court hearings in Moscow throughout the year and officials have repeatedly raised Mr Kara-Murza’s case with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Russian Embassy.

The UK and international partners invoked the OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism on 28 July 2022, sending a mission of experts to investigate following concerns over Russia’s repression of human rights. The September report revealed how Russia has been waging a campaign of repression against its own people.

We are taking forward the report’s recommendations, and have helped secure a United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur. They will be charged with undertaking country visits, acting on individual cases of reported violations and concerns of a broader nature, and raising public awareness and providing advice for technical cooperation.