17 Apr 2023
The Master, Fellows and wider Trinity Hall community condemn the politically-motivated conviction and sentencing of alumnus Vladimir Kara-Murza in Russia today (April 17).
In doing so we echo the British Government’s response to Moscow’s treatment of Mr Kara-Murza who, after studying History at Trinity Hall, went on to become an opposition leader and human-rights champion in Russia, despite the risks associated with those activities.
Mary Hockaday, Master of Trinity Hall, said: “The actions taken in Moscow are the antithesis of everything we stand for at Trinity Hall. Vladimir Kara-Murza and his family have our support and we condemn the 25-year sentence meted out today, as well as the treatment he has received from the Russian authorities since his return to the country.
“Mr Kara-Murza’s actions and tenacious championing of human rights are an example to us all. We join the UK Government in calling for his immediate release and urge Russia to treat Mr Kara-Murza in line with its international obligations.”
A ceremony in Strasbourg in October 2022 saw his work recognised as he was awarded the 10th annual Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. Though unable to attend himself, due to his ongoing detention by the Russian authorities, the award was collected on his behalf by his wife Yevgeniya.
Mr Kara-Murza, who has faced two attempts to poison him, was arrested and jailed in April 2022 and was charged with treason, as well as other charges that led to his 25-year jail sentence.
In a statement issued by the UK Government, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “Vladimir Kara-Murza bravely denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for what it was – a blatant violation of international law and the UN Charter.
“Russia’s lack of commitment to protecting fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression, is alarming. We continue to urge Russia to adhere to its international obligations including Vladimir Kara-Murza’s entitlement to proper healthcare.”
“The UK will continue to support them and to call for Mr Kara-Murza’s immediate release.”
The History Faculty of the University of Cambridge has also issued a statement condemning the actions taken by the Russian authorities today, noting: “In his powerful closing statement to the court, Kara-Murza invokes the study of history as the key to a humane understanding of our place in the world, even in the darkest places and times.
“We commend his statement, which will surely find a place among the classics of modern Russian political prose, as a lesson in the value of the study of history as a school for life.”
A vigil to protest the sentencing will be held by the ‘UK Campaign to Free Vladimir Kara-Murza’. For more information see their Facebook page.
Image Credit: Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.