RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Author)
November 23, 2018 10:22 GMT
A Russian court has sentenced popular rapper Husky to 12 days in prison for performing on a car after prosecutors banned his act.
Husky, whose real name is Dmitry Kuznetsov, has a wide following on YouTube, with his videos registering up to 6 million views on YouTube.
A court in the southern city of Krasnodar sentenced 25-year-old Husky, known for his songs mocking the authorities and police brutality, on charges of hooliganism after he was arrested on November 21.
He was due to perform in Krasnodar when prosecutors warned the club hosting the event that his act had elements of what they termed "extremism," and the show was moved to another location.
But the authorities shut off the power and Husky's fans poured outside the venue. Videos posted online showed the rapper performing on top of a car with the fans chanting the lyrics along before police detained him.
A crowd blocked the police vehicle, demanding Husky's release. Police eventually persuaded them to disperse.
Russian authorities have in recent years used a vaguely worded law on extremism to pursue government critics.
Krasnodar police said that the owner of the vehicle on which Husky performed filed a complaint for property damage, a charge that may carry a longer jail term.
Husky said he was willing to pay compensation for any damage to the vehicle.
"I acted in such a way because I faced a situation when I felt an obligation to talk to the people who had bought tickets," he told the court.
A new wave of Russian rappers is widely credited for channeling young Russians' frustration with the political system and lack of economic prospects.
Based on reporting by AP and The Guardian
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