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Appeal for High Commissioner Bachelet to Speak Out for Political Prisoner Vladimir Kara-Murza, Opponent of Russia’s War on Ukraine

Testimony delivered by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer before the U.N. Human Rights Council special session on Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, May 12, 2022

Mr. President:

We deliver this statement on behalf of a cross-regional civil society coalition, as listed at www.unwatch.org/FreeKaraMurza.

Russia’s war on Ukraine will stop when Russians are able to express their opposition.

That is why we hereby call on Secretary-General Guterres and High Commissioner Bachelet to speak out and demand that Russia release all prisoners of conscience whose only crime was opposing this war.

One of these prisoners is my friend Vladimir Kara-Murza, a brilliant author, historian and filmmaker, also one of Russia’s most prominent opposition politicians.

His close associate, opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, was assassinated in Moscow in 2015.

Because of his dissent, Vladimir himself was poisoned and went into a coma. Not once, but twice, in 2015 and 2017.

Despite the dangers, Vladimir stays in Russia, refusing to give up his fight for democracy.  “In Russia,” he said, “the biggest gift that opponents of the regime could give the Kremlin would be to leave. This is what they want from us.”

And now he is once again paying the price.

On April 11th, Vladimir was arrested outside his Moscow home after a CNN interview where he criticized the Kremlin’s aggression. He was sentenced to 15 days in prison. Then, on April 22nd, Vladimir was prosecuted under a draconian new law that criminalizes the spreading of so-called fake information about the military.

Mr. President, Vladimir is being arbitrarily detained for exercising his basic right to freedom of expression.

When will High Commissioner Bachelet speak out?

Thank you.

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The following non-governmental organizations co-signed a written statement submitted by UN Watch:

  1. United Nations Watch, Switzerland
  2. National Council of Catholic Women, United States
  3. Families of the Missing, United States
  4. OCAPROCE International, Switzerland
  5. Alliance for Public Health, Ukraine
  6. Edmund Rice International, Switzerland
  7. World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women, UK
  8. Lebanese American Renaissance Partnership, United States
  9. Women Educators Association of Nigeria
  10. Global Vision India Foundation, India
  11. India Media Centre, India
  12. Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group, Nigeria
  13. Institute of Noahide Code, United States
  14. Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organization, Pakistan
  15. Comité Français pour l’Afrique du Sud, South Africa
  16. CALM Africa, Uganda
  17. Romanian Independent Society of Human Rights – SIRDO, Romania
  18. Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti, India
  19. Human Development Society, The Gambia
  20. Fondation Kalipa pour le Devéloppement, Democratic Republic of Congo
  21. Asociación Española para el Derecho Internacional de los Derechos Humanos, Spain
  22. Conglomeration of Bengal’s Hotel Owners, India
  23. Society for the Widows and Orphans, Nigeria
  24. NGOs Computer Literacy, Shelter Welfare RawalPindi, Pakistan
  25. Association Nationale Pour L’évaluation Evironnmentale, Democratic Republic of Congo
  26. Ashiana Collective Development Council, Pakistan
  27. Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience, France
  28. HIV Legal Network, Canada
  29. Centre Africain de Recherche Industrielle, Democratic Republic of Congo
  30. Forum Mediteraneen Pour la Promotion des Droit du Citoyen, Morocco

 

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