On 4 December 2017 the Moscow City Court upheld the 17 October decision by the city’s Basmanny district court to extend the house arrest of prominent Russian theatre director Kirill Serebrennikov to 19 January 2018 as investigations continue into the alleged embezzlement of state funds earmarked for an art project, reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Freemuse remains troubled by the actions of authorities in the case against Serebrennikov and the deterioration of freedom of expression in Russia, where artists and others who criticise the government often find themselves as targets.
“It is the universal presumption of innocence that one is innocent until proven otherwise. Serebrennikov must be released unless proven guilty. The burden of proof is with the Russian authority, and they must also show that they are not simply locking Serebrennikov up to silence the art community and other opposition voices in the time leading up to the national presidential election,” Freemuse Executive Director Dr Srirak Plipat said.
Serebrennikov was originally detained on 22 August 2017 on embezzlement charges and was supposed to remain under house arrest until 19 October.
Moscow’s Basmanny district court decided on 17 October to extend his house arrest, and also denied his appeals to be released for five days to go to St. Petersburg to finish shooting a film and to complete the production of a ballet at the Bolshoi set to premiere in December, reported Russian news agency TASS.
The court also extended the house arrests of three other former employees of the director’s theatre and studio project who have been indicted in the same case, reported The Moscow Times.
This story, originally published on 19 October 2017, was updated on 7 December 2017 to reflect changes in Serebrennikov’s case.