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20 August 2017
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Pussy Riot's Alekhina and Borisova detained over call for Sentsov's release – media

Two members of the Russian punk protest band Pussy Riot say they have been detained after staging a protest near the remote prison where Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov is incarcerated, according to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

Photo from facebook.com/maria.lirain
Photo from facebook.com/maria.lirain

Maria Alekhina wrote on Twitter on August 7 that she and Olga Borisova were detained outside the prison near the city of Yakutsk, nearly 5,000 kilometers east of Moscow, a day after they hung a banner reading "Free Sentsov" on a bridge nearby, RFE/RL reported.

The two were released several hours later, Borisova said.

Pussy Riot activists unfold Free Sentsov banner 7.5 km from his penal colony in RussiaAlekhina and fellow Pussy Riot perfomer Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" for a stunt in which band members burst into Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral in February 2012 and sang a "punk prayer" against then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who was campaigning for his return to the presidency at the time.

Alekhina and Tolokonnikova were close to the end of their two-year prison sentences when they were freed in December 2013, under an amnesty they dismissed as a propaganda stunt to improve Putin's image ahead of the February 2014 Sochi Olympics.

They have focused largely on fighting for the rights of prisoners since their release.

PEN America launches campaign to free Ukrainian writer Oleh Sentsov – mediaAs UNIAN reported earlier, Sentsov was detained by the Russian FSB Security Service in Russian-occupied Crimea in 2014 together with activist Oleksandr Kolchenko. They were brought to Russia and tried in a trumped-up case on charges of organizing acts of terror and arson on the peninsula. 

On August 25, 2015, Sentsov and Kolchenko were sentenced to 20 years' and 10 years' imprisonment prison, respectively.

On October 21, 2016, Russia refused to extradite the two Ukrainians to Ukraine, claiming they had automatically acquired Russian citizenship after the annexation of Crimea.

Tags: Russia, PussyRiot, Sentsov, FreeSentsov, LetMyPeopleGo

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