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Pussy Riot Member Arrested Again For 15 Days


Pussy Riot member Nika Nikulshina (file photo)

A Moscow court has sentenced a member of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot to 15 days in jail for allegedly disobeying police orders, just two days after she was released on a similar charge.

Nika Nikulshina was detained late on July 2 in Moscow for expressing “gross obscene language" in a public place and refusing to cooperate with police, according to court documents obtained by the independent news website Mediazona.

In court on July 3, Nikulshina and an artist friend who was detained alongside her, Roman Durov, said that they were not actually in Moscow, but rather in the Moscow region resting at their dacha.

They claimed "unknown people in civilian clothes" and a district police officer came to the dacha, took their cell phones, and transported them to Moscow to be detained.

Nikulshina had just left jail on July 1, after serving 15 days for refusing to go to a police station for questioning.

Police said at the time they intended to question Nikulshina about whether she was planning any activities to disrupt Euro 2020 soccer events in St. Petersburg.

In recent weeks, authorities have put four other members of Pussy Riot in jail for 15 days as part of a crackdown on the protest group. Lyusya Shtein, Maria Alyokhina, and Anna Kuzminykh were found guilty of disobeying police orders, while Aleksandr Sofeyev was sentenced for minor hooliganism.

Nikulshina and several other members of Pussy Riot were sentenced to 15 days in jail for interrupting the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow between France and Croatia by running onto the field wearing fake police uniforms. The group says such stunts are aimed at challenging government policies and raising awareness of human rights issues.

Pussy Riot came to prominence in 2012 when some of its members, including Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, burst into Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral to protest ties between the Russian Orthodox Church and then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Their protest, the performance of a song they described as a "punk prayer," took place as Putin was campaigning for his return to the presidency.

The pair were convicted on a charge of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" and sentenced to two years in a penal colony.

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were close to completing their sentences when they were granted amnesty in December 2013.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Russian Service and Mediazona
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