Vladimir Kara-Murza

By: The Hon. Pierre Dalphond

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Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond: Honourable senators, in April I rose to express solidarity with jailed Russian opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza. After courageously returning to Russia, despite two assassination attempts, he was arrested under new laws criminalizing dissent.

Recently, he was charged with high treason for opposing the war against Ukraine.

Yet, Mr. Kara-Murza’s criticism of the Putin regime reflects the truth. This is evident by the overwhelming United Nations vote last week to condemn Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of occupied regions in Ukraine. The truth cannot be a crime.

Let us reaffirm that we stand with Mr. Kara-Murza — a star of hope in the Russian sky. This week, we are honoured to host in our capital his wife, Evgenia Kara-Murza, the project manager of the Free Russia Foundation. We are also honoured to host two of his advocates: the Honourable Irwin Cotler, appointed as the Special Envoy of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Community of Democracies in the Case of Vladimir Kara-Murza; and Bill Browder, head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign.

They thank us for our Magnitsky Law and call for more sanctions against oligarchs who are often proxies of Putin to hide his wealth, and also to ban Russian officials involved in Mr. Kara-Murza’s persecution.

On October 10, on her husband’s behalf, Evgenia Kara-Murza accepted the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize in Strasbourg, awarded by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In a statement read by his wife, he dedicated the prize to the many thousands of Russians jailed for speaking out against the war who choose not to remain “. . . silent in the face of this atrocity, even at the cost of personal freedom.” He added in the statement read by his wife:

. . . I look forward to . . . when a peaceful, democratic and Putin-free Russia returns to this Assembly and to this Council; and when we can finally start building that whole, free and peaceful Europe we all want to see. Even today, in the darkest of hours, I firmly believe that time will come.

Senators, let’s stand with the Kara-Murzas, the advocates working with them and all those in Russia who dare to speak against Putin’s war crimes. Thank you, meegwetch.

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