Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

Vladimir Kara-Murza, talks to his lawyer Vadim Prokhorov during a preliminary court hearing in Moscow, Russia on Monday. (Press Service of Moscow City Court/Handout/Reuters)

A Moscow court on Monday prolonged the pre-trial detention of jailed Russian opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza who stands accused of spreading “fake” information about the Russian military.

Kara-Murza was charged with high treason, the court’s press service told the Russian state news agency TASS. The hearing was conducted behind closed doors as it contained confidential materials, the news agency said.   

In a short video released by the court, a judge can be heard off-camera informing the defendant, “The court decided to reserve the measure of preventative detention for the accused Kara-Murza, which has been extended until August 27, 2023.”

The next hearing has been scheduled for March 15, TASS reported. Kara-Murza faces up to 20 years in prison. 

His, wife, Evgenia Kara-Murza, said his attorney believes a trial will likely take place within 2 weeks.

“I do not believe that the court will somehow decide that my husband is innocent — although he of course is — because there is no justice system left in Russia, no independent justice system left in Russia. And courts in Russia are a sham,” she told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Monday.

In addition, some of the symptoms suffered by the activist after he was twice poisoned are coming back due to conditions in prison, particularly after he was placed in solitary confinement, she said.

Some background: Kara-Murza has been incredibly critical of President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s war in Ukraine, and he continues to speak out even as he is detained.

In March 2022, Kara-Murza addressed the Arizona House of Representatives and spoke out against the war. In an April 2022 interview with CNN, he called Putin’s government “a regime of murderers.” He was arrested shortly thereafter for “failing to obey the orders of law enforcement,” according to his wife.

On Friday, the US imposed sanctions on a number of Russian individuals connected to Kara-Murza’s detention.

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