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Russian Publisher, Activist Verzilov Detained Again

Pyotr Verzilov attends a court hearing in Moscow on June 25.
Pyotr Verzilov attends a court hearing in Moscow on June 25.

Activist Pyotr Verzilov, a founding member of the protest music group Pussy Riot and publisher of independent Mediazona website, has been detained again, two days after finishing a 15-day jail sentence for swearing.

Verzilov wrote on Twitter on July 8 that Investigative Committee officers detained him right after he took part in a program on the Ekho Moskvy radio station and were taking him to a new search of his home.

TASS news agency quoted sources in law enforcement as saying that the search will be held in relation with "a criminal case about mass disorders launched after unsanctioned rallies held on June 27 last year."

On July 6, when Verzilov finished a 15-day jail sentence for swearing, the Investigative Committee said that it had launched a probe into Verzilov for failing to inform authorities that he has a Canadian passport, which, according to Russian law, is punishable by a hefty fine or up to 400 hours of community work.

Moscow police on June 21 searched Verzilov's home in connection with an investigation into an unsanctioned protest in July 2019 that ended in mass arrests. Verzilov said he was in Estonia that day.

He was then taken to a police station and questioned about his ties to popular opposition figure Aleksei Navalny.

Upon his release later, on June 21, Verzilov said he was followed by a man who tried to provoke him into an altercation and was then immediately arrested on charges of fighting.

However, since there was no proof of a fight, he was then charged with swearing and sentenced on June 22 to 15 days in jail.

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 TASS
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