Senators Introduce Bipartisan Resolution on Wrongful Detention of Kara-Murza by Russian Authorities

April 28, 2023

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., joined U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Chris Coons, D-Del., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, in introducing a bipartisan Senate resolution urging the Biden administration to designate Vladimir Kara-Murza as wrongfully detained under United States law.

“Vladimir Kara-Murza is a courageous Russian leader, an outspoken opponent of the dictatorship of President Putin, and a leader in the democracy movement in his home country,” Wicker said. “His work is well known to this Congress, and decisive action is needed to save his life. Today we are imploring the Biden administration to support this Russian patriot and legal permanent resident of the United States.”

Kara-Murza, a permanent resident of the United States, was arrested by Russia a year ago for condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine. Kara-Murza was charged with “spreading deliberately false information” about the armed forces of Russia, which was criminalized when Russia passed a law after their full-scale invasion of Ukraine. On April 17 of this year, Kara-Murza was convicted of treason and sentenced to twenty-five years in prison.

Kara-Murza’s wrongful imprisonment is similar to those of other Americans, including Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. The senators demand the immediate release of Kara-Murza, Whelan, Gershkovich, and all other United States citizens wrongfully detained by Russia.

The senators noted that under the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act (22 U.S.C. 1741), the Secretary of State is required to review the cases of United States nationals detained abroad to determine if there is credible information that they are being detained unlawfully or wrongfully. If this determination is made, the Secretary is required to transfer responsibility for such cases from the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Department of State to the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs (SPEHA). Transferring the case to SPEHA provides the government with more tools to push for their release.

The resolution states that the Senate:

  • Calls on the U.S. Government to designate Vladimir Kara-Murza as wrongfully detained under United States law.
  • Condemns the wrongful detainment of all United States citizens and residents by the Government of the Russian Federation and demands their immediate release from such detention.
  • Stands with the people of Russia in their desire to exercise freedom of speech and expression, without retaliation by an oppressive regime.
  • Demands that the Russian leadership be held accountable for their inhumane and unjust actions against their own citizens who want nothing less than to be represented by a fair and just government.
  • Calls on the United States Government to immediately designate the Russian Federation as a state sponsor of terrorism under United States law.