Richard Kruspe, the guitarist for the German rock group Rammstein, has expressed his support for a former associate of jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny after he was handed a prison sentence for sharing the band's video online in 2014.
Kruspe wrote on Instagram late on April 29 that he is aware of the case of Andrei Borovikov from Russia's northwestern city of Arkhangelsk, who was sentenced earlier that day to 2 1/2 years in prison for reposting the music video to Rammstein's song Pussy on VKontakte, a popular Russian social network similar to Facebook..
“I very much regret that Borovikov has been sentenced to imprisonment for this. The harshness of this sentence is shocking. Rammstein have always stood up for freedom as a guaranteed basic right of all people," Kruspe's Instagram statement said.
A court in Arkhangelsk on April 29 found Borovikov guilty of "distributing pornography” by sharing the video in question in 2014.
Amnesty International said Borovikov -- a former coordinator of Navalny's Arkhangelsk regional headquarters -- was being “punished solely for his activism, not his musical taste.”
The music video posted by Borovikov came to the attention of authorities six months ago when a former volunteer at his office informed the police. Amnesty International said it suspected the volunteer was employed as an agent provocateur to help fabricate the case.
The prosecution ordered “a sexological and cultural examination” of the clip, before experts found it to be of “pornographic nature” and “not containing artistic value.”