Press Release

May 12, 2022
Cardin Leads Bipartisan Ask for Biden to Sanction Russians Responsible for Jailing Opposition Leader Vladimir Kara-Murza
Kara-Murza has used his platform to peacefully protest the war against Ukraine and give a voice to millions more who silently oppose the war

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), author of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and Chair of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission), along with Helsinki Commission Ranking Member Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Commissioners Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) are urging President Joe Biden to publicly sanction “every Russian official and associate involved with the false arrest, detention, and political persecution of Vladimir Kara-Murza.” The lawmakers made the plea last week in a letter that also was signed by U.S. Representatives Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.-9), Co-Chair of the Helsinki Commission; Joe Wilson (R-S.C.-2), Ranking Member of the Helsinki Commission; Gerald Connolly (D-Va.-11); John Curtis (R-Utah-3); Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.-1), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.-7); Richard Hudson R-N.C.-8); Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas-18); Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio-9); Bill Keating (D-Mass.-9); Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.-16); Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.-7); Peter Meijer (R-Mich.-3); Mike Levin (D-Calif.-49); Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.-4); Burgess Owens (R-Utah-4); Katie Porter (D-Calif.-45); Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.-27); Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.-7); and Marc Veasey (D-Texas-33).

“Kara-Murza is a Russian opposition politician who has long stood up against Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. He embodies what Russia might be one day when it is democratic and free,” the lawmakers wrote. “As Russia loses its brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, we must consider what might come next in that country. Kara-Murza offers a vision of a Russia free from imperialist kleptocracy. He has bravely answered the call of many Ukrainians for Russians to take a stand and oppose this bloody and senseless war. He must be immediately freed and allowed to continue his work.”

The full letter is below and can be downloaded at this link.

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Biden,

We urge you to name and sanction every Russian official and associate involved with the false arrest, detention, and political persecution of Vladimir Kara-Murza. Kara-Murza is a Russian opposition politician who has long stood up against Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. He embodies what Russia might be one day when it is democratic and free. We also urge you to examine whether to sanction those involved in the persecution and imprisonment of other Russian political prisoners.

Kara-Murza is a Russian patriot who has fought for decades for democracy in Russia and a prosperous future for his country. For this, the regime in Russia has poisoned him twice. On April 11, while in Russia, Kara-Murza called this regime “a regime of murderers.” He was then arrested, and now faces trumped up charges that may result in years of unjust imprisonment.

Kara-Murza was the key Russian activist behind the passage of the Magnitsky Act and its adoption by our allies. The late Senator John McCain called him “one of the most passionate and effective advocates for the passage of the Magnitsky Act.” Kara-Murza himself, like his mentor Boris Nemtsov before him, has called the Magnitsky Act the most “pro-Russian law passed in the United States in the history of our countries.” Nemtsov was murdered in front of the Kremlin.

The Magnitsky Act is the appropriate tool to sanction those involved in the persecution of Kara-Murza. We ask that you coordinate with our allies to sanction these individuals at the same time. The European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia now all have Magnitsky sanctions laws of their own.

As Russia loses its brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, we must consider what might come next in that country. Kara-Murza offers a vision of a Russia free from imperialist kleptocracy. He has bravely answered the call of many Ukrainians for Russians to take a stand and oppose this bloody and senseless war. He must be immediately freed and allowed to continue his work.

Sincerely,

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