The United States and France have added to the chorus of international condemnation following Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza‘s 25-year prison sentence on Monday.
“Mr. Kara-Murza is yet another target of the Russian government’s escalating campaign of repression,” US State Department principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said in a statement.
“We renew our call for Mr. Kara-Murza’s release, as well as the release of the more than 400 political prisoners in Russia,” he said.
And the French Foreign Ministry said France is “dismayed” by Kara-Murza’s sentencing at a Moscow court on Monday, calling it “a new illustration of the campaign of repression led by the Russian authorities against voices critical of the power and its war of aggression against Ukraine.”
“It is concerned by the instrumentalization of the Russian justice system, which has become a tool of oppression for the Kremlin,” it added in a statement.
The Foreign Ministry also said it was concerned about Kara-Murza’s health due to detention conditions.
“France calls on Russia to respect international human rights law, to release the political prisoners and to drop the legal proceedings against them,” reads the statement.
“We salute the courage of women and men like Vladimir Kara-Murza, Alexei Navalny and so many others who defend freedom of speech and opinion despite the risks involved.”
Last week, jailed opposition figure Navalny’s team revealed he had been experiencing severe stomach issues amid fears that he may have been slowly poisoned.
“Last week, Navalny has been suffering from stomach pain so acute that prison officials were forced to call an ambulance to treat him,” the Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF) said Friday on Twitter.
More on Western nations condemning Kara-Murza’s conviction: Norway’s foreign minister Anniken Huitfeldt condemned in the “strongest terms” the “politically motivated” sentencing of Kara-Murza.
“A deeply alarming and harsh sentence for exercising the right to freedom of expression. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Kara-Murza and all political prisoners in Russia,” Huitfeldt said Monday in a statement.
Austria is “deeply alarmed” by the “deteriorating” human rights situation in Russia, Austria’s Foreign Ministry tweeted on Monday
“We strongly condemn the politically motivated 25-year sentence of @vkaramurza & call for his immediate & unconditional release. The repression of the Russian civil society must stop,” the tweet reads.
CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite contributed to this post.