Jailed Kremlin critic warns death squad is 'physically eliminating' Putin's opponents

Jailed Russian opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza alleged that President Vladimir Putin’s political opponents are being eliminated by Kremlin-backed hit squads, and urged Russians not not to give up after the death of Alexei Navalny.

Vladimir Kara-Murza, 42, a Russian-British dual national politician, is serving a 25-year sentence for treason after being convicted of criticizing Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine. 

He is held at Penal Colony No. 7 in the Siberian city of Omsk as one of many victims of a crackdown against critics of the war and freedom of speech. 

Appearing in a virtual court hearing on Thursday, he alleged that there is a “death squad” within the Federal Security Service, Moscow’s spy agency, that has been tasked to “physically eliminate political opponents of the Putin regime.”

His remarks came as he appeared in a court hearing over a complaint against the Russian Investigative Committee for what he believes were two poisoning attempts against him.

He alleged the committee didn’t properly investigative the attempts.

READ MORE: Alexei Navalny killed by KGB hallmark single ‘punch in the heart’

Like Navalny, Kara-Murza survived poisoning – twice back in 2015 and 2017.

In the first attempt, he nearly died of organ failure. A similar illness took place two years later, which left him in a medically induced coma.

Doctors confirmed he was poisoned, according to his wife.

Kara-Murza also alleged the “death squad” participated in Navalny’s poisoning with a nerve agent in 2020, and had spied on opposition politician Boris Nemtsov who was crossing a bridge near the Kremlin before he was gunned down in 2015.

Nemtsov, who was considered to be Kara-Murza’s mentor, has worked alongside him to lobby the US Congress in passing landmark sanctions that target Russian oligarchs and government officials for human rights violations or corruption.

Kara-Murza and Nemtsov played a role in passing the 2012 Magnitsky Act, named after Russian accountant Sergety Magnitsky, who died in custody after exposing a massive state-sponsored tax fraud scheme.

Navalny, Putin’s most outspoken critic, died at the age of 47 at the “Polar Wolf” penal colony in the Arctic Circle where he was serving a 19-year sentence on charges of extremism.

The Russian prison service claimed he died after taking a walk at the penal colony before collapsing and dying.

Kara-Murza said in a video shared on Telegram: “We owe it … to our fallen comrades to continue to work with even greater strength and achieve what they lived and died for.”

His latest hearing came after months of postponements. In January, he was moved from another prison in Siberia and placed in solitary confinement over an alleged minor infraction.

source: express.co.uk