Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond: Honourable senators, I rise to express solidarity with Vladimir Kara-Murza, a democratic opposition leader in Russia who has recently been arrested by the Putin regime to silence him.
A journalist and former deputy leader of the People’s Freedom Party, Mr. Kara-Murza is a longtime colleague of the late opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated outside the Kremlin in 2015. That year, and again in 2017, Mr. Kara-Murza survived two near-fatal poisonings traced to Russian authorities.
Mr. Kara-Murza is also a friend of our Parliament and a Senior Fellow with the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights in Montreal. In 2016, he appeared before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee to urge Canada’s adoption of the Sergei Magnitsky Law, named after another victim of the Putin regime and became law in 2017.
On April 11, after bravely returning to Russia after a trip in Europe, he was arrested outside his home after an interview on CNN where he criticized Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and accurately described Vladimir Putin’s government as a “regime of murderers.” Mr. Kara-Murza now faces Orwellian criminal charges that could result in up to 15 years in prison.
The Parliament of Canada and our allies must stand with Mr. Kara-Murza, as urged by his wife, Evgenia Kara-Murza, in a recent interview reported in The Globe and Mail. On April 12, our Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, called for his immediate release. Yesterday, Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather rose in the House of Commons to join this call. Also yesterday, chairs of foreign affairs committees in 20 countries, including Canada, issued another such call.
I trust, colleagues, that you will join efforts to support Vladimir Kara-Murza, a star of hope in the Russian sky. Let there be no doubt that Canada stands with the heroes inside and outside Russia who dare to speak and act against the tyrannical Putin and his war crimes.