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Pussy Riot members detained and sentenced for taking part in protests

16 December 2020
Two women are taping artists dressed in police uniform during an artistic performance
Image: Fragile! Handle With Care! protest performance / Pussy Riot on Instagram

 

On 4 December, the Tverskoy District Court in Moscow sentenced a Pussy Riot member Rita Flores (also known as Margarita Konovalova), who was detained a day earlier, to 20 days of administrative arrest. The charges of violating the Russian protest law follow her attendance in a protest performance in November, reported Radio Free Europe 

According to the Moscow TimesFlores together with artists Maria Alyokhina and Farkhad Israfilli-Gelman staged a protest performance called Fragile! Handle With Care! on 28 November near the Red Square in MoscowDuring the performance, two women in Russian national outfits tied Israfilli-Gelman, who was wearing OMON officers’ uniform, to a light pole with tape 

Police briefly detained Israfilli-Gelman on the grounds of violating the law on public gatherings on 28 November and released him on the same day. Alyokhina was detained on 2 December on the same charge, reported Radio Free Europe 

The purpose of the performance was to spotlight actions against protesters who received prison sentences last year for throwing plastic items at police during protests in Moscow. 

Earlier, on the day of President Vladimir Putin’s birthday on 7 October, Maria Alyokhina was among five members of Pussy Riot including Vasily Andrianov, Elizaveta Diderikh, Veronika Nikulshina and Aleksandr Sofeyevwho were detained and released on the same day after they hung rainbow flags outside several governmental buildings in Moscow.  

According to Deutsche Welle, thecalled for the end of persecution of same-sex partnerships and an investigation into the kidnapping and killing of LGBTI people in Chechnya 

On 9 October, Aleksandr Sofeyev was sentenced to 30 days in jail for participating in the protest with displaying rainbow flags. On 23 November, two separate courts in Moscow found Veronika Nikulshina and Maria Alyokhina, who also took part in the same protest as Sofeyev, guilty oviolating Russian protest law and fined them 10,000 Russian Rubles (approximately 112 euros) and 15,000 Russian Rubles (approximately 168 euros) respectively. 

According to Freemuse report Painting the Rainbow: How LGBTI Freedom of Artistic Expression is Denied17% of all artistic freedom violations against LGBTI artistic expression was documented in Russia.  

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