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Vladimir Kara-Murza unable to attend court proceedings due to severely worsened health condition, lawyers say

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Incarcerated Russian politician Vladimir Kara-Murza could not be brought to the Moscow City Court from pretrial detention due to a significant deterioration in his health, according to a report from one of his lawyers, Vadim Prokhorov. According to the lawyer, at the beginning of the hearing, presiding judge Podoprigorov read a certificate from the medical unit of Kara-Murza’s detention facility (SIZO-5 “Vodnik”) stating that the politician could not take part in the court proceedings until the end of treatment. The stated diagnosis is polyneuropathy – a consequence of two severe poisonings in 2015 and 2017.

“What is happening clearly shows that there are clear problems with Vladimir's health, as even medics in the Russian penitentiary system have begun to show concern,” Prokhorov wrote.

In the near future, Vadim Prokhorov and Maria Eismont, Vladimir Kara-Murza's defenders, will be taking all possible measures to have him examined in a hospital outside the detention facility and treated as soon as possible. The defense team will also raise the issue of changing the pre-trial detention measure.

Earlier, reports revealed that Kara-Murza's limbs began to go numb after his confinement in a punishment cell. Kara-Murza was placed in the punishment cell at the end of February for “lying on his bunk after the wake-up call.” Kara-Murza has been in the Moscow pre-trial detention centre on charges of “treason” and spreading “fakes” since April 2022.

Politician and journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr. has been engaged in opposition activities in Russia for more than 20 years. One of his most notable achievements was the preparation and promotion of the Sergei Magnitsky Act, passed by the US Congress in 2012, which prohibits Russian officials responsible for “gross human rights violations” from entering the United States and freezes their financial assets. Kara-Murza promoted the law together with his friend and associate Boris Nemtsov.

In 2014, Vladimir Kara-Murza returned from the United States, where he had previously worked for several years, to participate in the creation of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's Open Russia movement (the movement was launched in September 2014).

In May 2015 and February 2017, Kara-Murza suffered two similar near-fatal medical emergencies. Both left him in a prolonged coma with severe shutdown of his vital functions. Despite Kara-Murza’s suspicions of being poisoned as retaliation for his political activities, Russian authorities refused to initiate criminal proceedings into either case. Two Russian hospital reports and three international examinations have concluded that the incidents were caused by intoxication with an unidentified substance. The exact cause and source of the poisonings has remained a mystery.

In a report prepared jointly with Bellingcat and Der Spiegel, we investigated the possible role of the two FSB units in two near-fatal poisonings of the Russian politician.

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