Pussy Riot’s ‘Missing’ Members Located After Russian Detainment

UPDATE: Two Pussy Riot band members who had gone missing have now been located, according to the band’s official Twitter account.

No further details were provided.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Two members of punk protest band Pussy Riot have reportedly gone missing in Crimea after they were detained by the Russian internal security and counterintelligence service FSB (Federal Security Service).

The band posted a plea to their official Twitter account, asking for help in finding their “missing” bandmates, Olya Borisova and Sasha Sofeev.

It appears Borisova and Sofeev have no way of reaching out to loved ones since bandmates say the FSB destroyed their only means of communication.

Borisova, Sofeev and a third Pussy Riot member, Maria Alyokhina, had initially planned to stage a protest in Crimea — a large peninsula in the south of Ukraine — in support of jailed filmmaker Oleh Sentsov. He is currently being held in a remote Siberian prison.

READ MORE: Heather Locklear Arrested For domestic violence, Battering Police Officer

On Monday, Alyokhina, Borisova, and Sofeev were detained in different parts of Crimean city Simferopol and taken to undisclosed medical offices for “tests.” It was not clear why the tests were performed or what purpose they served.

A Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent reported that police detained Alyokhina in a café after she was confronted by several men in traditional Cossack military uniforms who called themselves members of “Crimea’s self-defence.”

She was later released, according to the report.

One of Borisova’s last tweets, dated Feb. 25 — the day she and Sofeyev arrived in Crimea — appears to show the front door of the FSB.

Roughly translated, it reads: “Me and Sasha from the ferry to Kerch met 6 cops, and now brought to the FSB.”

All three detainees were released shortly after they were questioned by the Russian agency.

READ MORE: Hedley Singer Jacob Hoggard Denies Sexual Assault Allegations By Ottawa Woman

Borisova and Sofeev were supposed to return to Moscow on Tuesday, but they weren’t on their scheduled flight from Simferopol. They also weren’t answering their phones.

Alyokhina appears to be fine and has been tweeting about the incidents in Crimea. She accuses Russian intelligence of “kidnapping” her two bandmates.

“Напомню, что Оля Борисова и Саша Софеев пропали без вести в Крыму и не выходят на связь со вчерашнего вечера. Возможно их похитили силовики.” — Дмитрий Энтео (@dimitriyenteo) February 27, 2018

(Rough translation: “I remind you that Olya and Sasha are missing in Crimea and have not come into contact since yesterday evening. They may have been kidnapped by the enforcers.”)

Alyokhina and Borisova were detained and fined in August after they staged a protest near Sentsov’s jail.

Borisova later said on Facebook that she and Alyokhina were released after a judge found flaws in the case. It was unclear if the police would refile charges.

A Russian military court convicted Sentsov, who comes from the Crimean Peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, of conspiracy to commit terror attacks and sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

Sentsov, who made two short movies and the 2012 feature film “Gamer” denied the charges, which he and his supporters denounced as political punishment for his opposition to Crimea’s annexation.

READ MORE: Kevin Smith Hospitalized After Suffering ‘Massive’ Heart Attack

The U.S. and the EU have criticized his conviction and called for his release, and numerous cultural figures in Russia and abroad have urged the Russian government to free him.

Pussy Riot is a loose collective and most of its members perform anonymously. The balaclava-clad women rose to prominence with their daring outdoor performances critical of President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s ruling elite.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (R) of Pussy Riot performs onstage during the Day for Night festival on December 16, 2017 in Houston, Texas.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (R) of Pussy Riot performs onstage during the Day for Night festival on December 16, 2017 in Houston, Texas. — Rick Kern/WireImage

An impromptu “punk prayer” at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour that derided the ties between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Kremlin got them into trouble in 2012.

Three band members were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” for the stunt. Alyokhina and another member, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, spent nearly two years in prison.

READ MORE: Metallica Announces Canada, U.S. Dates Of WorldWired Tour

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were close to the end of their two-year 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 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Since their release, they’ve largely focused on fighting for the rights of prisoners.

As of this writing, Russian-backed authorities in Crimea have not officially commented on this week’s supposed detainments.

— With files from The Associated Press

Related

Comments

Powered by WordPress.com VIP