Moscow Courts Fine Two Members Of Pussy Riot Protest Group Over Pro-LGBT Action

By RFE/RL's Russian Service

MOSCOW -- Two members of the well-known Russian Pussy Riot protest group have been fined over their roles in an action to support LGBT rights last month.

Two separate courts in Moscow fined Veronika Nikulshina and Maria Alyokhina 10,000 ($130) and 15,000 rubles ($195), respectively after finding them guilty of violating the law on public gatherings, the activists’ lawyers said on November 23.

The group's action against "state homophobic policies" was held on October 7, Russian President Vladimir Putin's 68th birthday.

The group placed LGBT rainbow flags on the buildings of the Federal Security Service, the presidential administration, the Supreme Court, police headquarters in one Moscow district, and the Culture Ministry.

The group demanded Putin investigate the abductions and torture of gays in Chechnya, stop the persecution of LGBT rights defenders, legalize same-gender partnerships, and to abolish Russia's "gay propaganda" law which de facto outlaws LGBT activism.

Several members of the group were detained after the action, one of whom, Aleksandr Sofeyev, was sentenced to 30 days in jail on October 9.

Two journalists, Denis Styazhkin and RFE/RL correspondent Artyom Radygin, were briefly detained by police while covering the demonstration.

With reporting by MBKh Media and Mediazona