Week-ending 19 March 2021
Pussy Riot members Maria Alekhina and Liudmila Shtein face up to two years in prison for Instagram posts demanding the release of political prisoners. Along with eight others, they have been under house arrest for the past two months. They have been unable to leave their homes, meet other people, visit the doctor or use the internet. Alekhina’s house arrest is due to be extended until 23 June.
The Moscow Times, 16 March 2021: A group of high-profile Hollywood celebrities has signed a letter calling on the Russian government to halt the prosecution of punk protest group Pussy Riot members Maria Alekhina and Ludmila Shtein, entertainment news site Deadline reported on Tuesday. The activists face up to two years in prison for Instagram posts demanding the release of political prisoners following the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. “These baseless charges are part of the Russian government’s campaign to silence activists and discourage people from further protests stirred by corruption and the unfair and politically motivated imprisonment of Aleksei Navalny,” said the letter, written by Pussy Riot member Nadya Tolokonnikova, who herself spent almost two years in jail on “hooliganism” charges.
The Guardian, 17 March 2021: Supporters of the jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny face the prospect of indefinite house arrest, in what campaigners say is an attempt by the Kremlin to “shut down” anti-government protests. Ten prominent activists have been under house arrest for the past two months, including two members of Pussy Riot, Masha Alekhina and Lucy Shtein, as well as Navalny’s brother Oleg, and Lyubov Sobol, a lawyer with the opposition leader’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. They are accused of violating coronavirus restrictions by calling on Russians to take to the streets. More than 10,000 people were arrested in January, during pro-Navalny rallies that took place in 180 towns and cities across Russia. The protests were the biggest for a decade. Alekhina’s case is due to be heard on Thursday in Moscow’s Basmanny district court. She has been unable to leave her flat, meet other people, visit the doctor or use the internet. Police have confiscated her passport. Her house arrest is due to be extended until 23 June and she faces up to two years in prison.