Vladimir Kara-Murza is one of Russia’s most famous political prisoners. He is a longtime opposition leader and prominent guest columnist for The Washington Post who was poisoned twice in incidents that are widely attributed to the Kremlin. And yet, like another famous opposition leader currently imprisoned in Russia, Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Kara-Murza was determined to return to his homeland to continue his human rights work after recovering from attempts on his life. In April 2022, Russian authorities arrested him and charged him with “high treason.” He was eventually sentenced to 25 years in prison.

In late January, Vladimir’s wife, Evgenia, reported that he had been moved from his prison and that his whereabouts were unknown. Though he has now resurfaced at a new prison in Siberia, Vladimir is being held in the strictest form of isolation and his situation remains dire.

In Russia and other repressive countries, the situation is also dire for the lawyers trying to defend those political prisoners. The lawyers often face threats to their lives or threats of prosecution themselves simply for doing their jobs.

Joining the show to discuss Vladimir Kara-Murza’s case, and the broader risks facing political prisoners and lawyers in Russia, are Vladimir’s wife, Evgenia Kara-Murza, and his lawyer for more than 10 years, Vadim Prokhorov. Evgenia is Advocacy Director of the Free Russia Foundation and has tirelessly advocated for the rights of her husband and other political prisoners in Russia, and Vadim has represented a range of Kremlin critics who’ve been targeted by the regime, including opposition politicians and anti-corruption campaigners. He was forced to flee Russia last April, just days before Vladimir’s sentence was handed down, because the prosecutor and the judge in the case threatened to prosecute him, too.

Listen to the episode by clicking below.

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