RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Author)
Russian news reports said a prominent opposition activist who was a founding member of the protest music group Pussy Riot has been detained by Moscow police
Pyotr Verzilov was quoted as telling the news site Mediazona that he was detained at his home earlier on June 21 after police searched his residence.
He said the investigation were connected to the mass arrests that occurred in July 2019 amid weeks of protests over local Moscow elections. Opposition activists used the election campaign to highlight what they said was a rigged electoral process.
The state-run news agency TASS, meanwhile, cited a police official as saying that Verzilov was detained as part of an investigation but did not report further details.
Another news agency, Interfax, cited unnamed law enforcement officials as saying Verzilov had been detained on extremism charges.
Verzilov is a publisher of Mediazona and a founder of the performance art group Pussy Riot that staged a video performance in a Moscow cathedral in 2012. Several women who performed in the video were charged and sentenced to prison terms for charges that included offending religious believers.
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.
Copyright (c) 2010-2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.