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Russian Performance Artist Pavlensky's Detention Prolonged

Pyotr Pavlensky

A Russian court has prolonged the pretrial detention of performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky until January 7.

Pavlensky was arrested after he poured gasoline on the doors of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) headquarters at Moscow's Lubyanka Square and set them alight on November 9. He said it was an act of political protest.

His original pretrial detention term was to expire on December 8.

Pavlensky, 31, could face up to three years in prison on vandalism charges.

He argued in court that he wanted to be tried for terrorism because the FSB holds Russia's "population of 146 million in fear."

Pavlensky has held a series of political protest performances that include nailing his scrotum to Red Square and cutting off part of his ear while standing atop a psychiatric clinic.

He explained his performances were a way to draw attention to the indifference shown by Russian society to widespread FSB control.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax