Russia extends opposition activist's detention for 2 months

A Moscow court on Tuesday extended the detention of Vladimir Kara Murza Jr., a prominent opposition activist who has been jailed since April on charges of spreading “false information” about Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

Russia adopted a law criminalizing spreading “false information” about its military shortly after Russian troops rolled into Ukraine on Feb. 24. The law, which stipulates a prison sentence of up to 15 years, has been used against dozens of people to stifle opposition to the war.

The Basmanny court ordered Kara Murza, 40, held until Oct. 12, Russian news agencies reported.

Kara Murza, a journalist, was an associate of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was killed near the Kremlin in 2015. He himself survived poisonings in 2015 and 2017 that he blamed on the Kremlin. Russian officials have denied responsibility.

The criminal case against him stems from a March 15 speech he gave to the Arizona House of Representatives in which he denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The law was adopted a week after the invasion, which was met by a wave of public outrage and protests on the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg. The Kremlin insisted its “special military operation” in Ukraine had overwhelming public support and moved swiftly to suppress any criticism. Thousands of protesters were arrested, dozens of critical media outlets were shut down and critics have faced prosecution.