Jailed Russian opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza is the winner of this year’s Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) announced on Monday.
“It takes incredible courage to stand against power in Russia today. Today, Mr. Kara-Murza is showing that courage from his prison cell,” said PACE President Tiny Kox.
Kara-Murza, who has long been a bitter critic of President Vladimir Putin, was jailed in April for condemning the invasion of the Kremlin in Ukraine and is now facing charges of treason, which could carry a two-year prison sentence.
“The current Russian authorities have – without intending to – painted the portrait of a true patriot. Vladimir Putin’s government sees such people as traitors,” said Kara-Murza’s wife Yevgeniya as she accepted the award on his behalf.
“Well, I couldn’t be prouder of my partner, my best friend, the father of my children.”
She read a statement her husband had written to recognize the award from prison.
“With the start of Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, he launched a war against the truth in our country,” Vladimir Kara-Murza said.
“In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, telling the truth is a crime against the state.”
He said he dedicated the award to other political prisoners in Russia and the money will go to a fund for their families.
The award is named after the former Czech dissident and playwright who became President of the Czech Republic with the fall of Communism.
The award comes after Russian human rights group Memorial was a co-winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.