Accessibility links

Breaking News

Member Of Russia's Pussy Riot Jailed For 'Swearing At Police'


Pussy Riot activist Pyotr Verzilov

A court in Moscow on June 22 sentenced a founding member of the protest music group Pussy Riot to 15 days in jail for allegedly swearing at police, local media reported.

Pyotr Verzilov, who is also a publisher of Mediazona, was detained on June 21 after police searched his residence in connection with an investigation into Moscow protests last year.

Verzilov said that when he was released later that day after questioning and was walking toward the subway, he was followed by a group of people he believed were police officers.

One of them attempted to trip the activist twice and police arrested them for fighting, keeping Verzilov in jail overnight.

“The description of this situation leaves no doubt that we were in a situation of a classic police provocation, which played out very badly,” he told the court.

Verzilov said he did not fight back and a medical examination on the morning of June 22 showed no signs of physical altercation on either the activist or the individual he described as a provocateur.

Thereafter, he said, the police decided to charge him with swearing by the entrance to the subway station. He said there is no evidence that he swore and that police were 500 meters away.

Verzilov said police questioned him on June 21 about his ties to popular opposition figure Aleksei Navalny and a violent protest that occurred in Moscow last year.

Russian police arrested hundreds of protesters in Moscow on July 27, 2019 following weeks of street demonstrations against an electoral process they deemed rigged. Verzilov said he was in Estonia on that day.

Pussy Riot staged a video performance in a Moscow cathedral in 2012. Several women who performed in the video were sentenced to prison terms for charges that included offending religious believers.

In 2018, Verzilov drew worldwide attention when he and three other Pussy Riot activists ran onto a field during the World Cup soccer match in Moscow to protest police brutality. He and the others served 15 days in jail.

With reporting by Novaya gazeta
  • 16x9 Image

    RFE/RL

    RFE/RL journalists report the news in 26 languages in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.

XS
SM
MD
LG