FILE – Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza is escorted to a court hearing in Moscow, Russia February 8, 2023. A Moscow court has convicted the prominent opposition figure of treason and disparagement of the Russian army, and he sentenced him to 25 years. years in prison. (AP Photo, File)

MOSCOW (AP) — A Moscow court on Monday found a prominent Kremlin rival guilty of treason and vilification of the Russian military, and sentenced him to 25 years in prison.

Vladimir Kara-Murza, Jr., a well-known opposition activist who twice survived poisonings he blamed on the Kremlin, had been imprisoned for a year. He dismissed the charges against him as political and compared the court process to the staged trials held under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

The charges against Kara-Murza stem from his March 15 speech to the Arizona House of Representatives, in which he condemned Russian military actions in Ukraine. Investigators added the treason charges while he was already in custody.

Russia passed a law criminalizing the spread of “false information” about its military shortly after sending its troops to Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Authorities used the law to stifle criticism of what the Kremlin calls a “military operation special” in Ukraine.

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