(Moscow) A Moscow court on Monday sentenced opponent Vladimir Kara-Murza to 25 years in prison after a trial emblematic of Russia’s all-out crackdown on those who oppose the Kremlin offensive in Ukraine.

Mr. Kara-Murza, close to prominent opponent Boris Nemtsov assassinated in 2015, was one of the last Kremlin critics not to be behind bars or exiled abroad.

After a trial behind closed doors, the court announced that it found Mr. Kara-Mourza guilty of “high treason”, spreading “false information” about the Russian army and illegal work for a “undesirable” organization, according to an AFP journalist.

As a result, he was sentenced to a cumulative term of 25 years in a harsh regime penal colony, implying stricter prison conditions. Either what the prosecution had requested.

Handcuffed in the cage reserved for the defendants, and dressed in blue jeans, a black t-shirt and a gray jacket, the 41-year-old opponent welcomed the verdict with a smile, before enjoining by gestures his supporters to write to him in prison.

Quoted by Russian news agencies, one of his lawyers, Maria Eismont, announced that Mr. Kara-Mourza was going to appeal, denouncing “gross violations of procedure” during the trial.

In his last statements on April 10, Vladimir Kara-Mourza said he was “ proud ” of his political commitment: “ Not only do I not repent of all this, but I am proud of it ”, he said according to comments published by journalist Alexei Venediktov.

“I also know that a day will come when the darkness that covers our country will dissipate […] when those who instigated and started this war (in Ukraine) will be called criminals, not those who tried to stop it ” , had again said the opponent.

In pre-trial detention since April 2022, Mr. Kara-Mourza almost died after being, according to him, poisoned twice, in 2015 and 2017, from assassination attempts which he attributes to Russian power.

According to one of his lawyers, Vadim Prokhorov, the opponent suffers from polyneuropathy and neuromuscular pathology, a consequence of the two poisonings.

According to the Russian news agency TASS, the opponent, who was declared a “foreign agent” by the authorities, was accused of “high treason” for having criticized the government in public interventions in the West.

Mr. Kara-Mourza has notably advocated in the United States, Europe and Canada for the adoption of sanctions against Russian officials who are guilty of serious human rights violations, such as the “Magnitsky Law” passed in 2012.

The opponent also worked for the Open Russia organization of the ex-oligarch in exile and detractor of the Kremlin Mikhail Khodorkovsky, declared “ undesirable ” by the Russian authorities in 2017.

The charge of disseminating “ false information ” about the army is based on an amendment introduced after the start of the offensive against Ukraine, which makes it possible to repress any information considered to be false by the authorities. .

In recent years, almost all Russian opponents have been sentenced to heavy prison terms or had to flee the country.

The best known, anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, is serving a nine-year prison sentence for fraud, a case widely seen as political. He was arrested in 2021 on his return to Russia, after recovering from poisoning of which he accuses the Kremlin.

His lawyer Vadim Kobzev was worried in early April that the 46-year-old opponent was suffering from an “unknown disease” for which he was left “untreated” by the prison authorities.