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Russian Court Delays Serebrennikov Trial Again To Allow Completion Of Study

Russian theater and film director Kirill Serebrennikov arrives at his court hearing in Moscow on June 17.

The trial of Russian theater director Kirill Serebrennikov and his co-defendants on charges of embezzlement has been postponed again after a judge granted more time for the completion of a new study of evidence in the case.

A Moscow court ruled on June 17 that the high-profile trial of the 49-year-old director and three co-defendants, who are accused of embezzling 133 million rubles ($2 million) in state funds granted from 2011 to 2014 to Seventh Studio, a nonprofit organization that Serebrennikov established, will resume on August 16.

The trial was first delayed on April 15 when a Meshchansky district court judge, Irina Akkuratova, ordered a "comprehensive" evaluation of financial, artistic, and other information relating to the case. The delay was seen as a victory for the defense.

Serebrennikov's August 2017 arrest drew international attention and prompted accusations that Russian authorities were targeting cultural figures who are at odds with President Vladimir Putin's government.

Serebrennikov, who has taken part in anti-government protests and voiced concerns about the growing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, has denied wrongdoing and dismissed the charges against him as absurd.

Serebrennikov and two co-defendants -- producer Yury Itin and former Culture Ministry employee Sofia Apfelbaum -- were released from house arrest under an April 8 court decision, but ordered to remain in Moscow.

The other defendant, Aleksei Malobrodsky, is not under house arrest but is also barred from leaving Moscow.

Based on reporting by Rapsinews and Interfax