[QODLink]
Europe

Pussy Riot members briefly arrested in Sochi

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhin and several others detained by police as they walked through Olympic host city.

Last updated: 19 Feb 2014 00:20
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Russian police briefly detained and questioned the two most famous members of the punk band Pussy Riot on allegations of theft.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were arrested along with several others in Sochi on Tuesday morning and were set free after four hours in police custody.

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina became the public face of the protest band after being sentenced to two years in a penal colony in 2012 for a staging Moscow protest against the Russian government. They were released last year after serving more than half of their sentence.

What kind of idiot do you have to be to arrest Pussy Riot in Sochi during the Olympics? No [PR] agency can help here.

Alexei Navalny, Russian protest leader

Police said the two women and several others were accused of stealing from the hotel where they were staying and were picked up in central Sochi, some 30km north of the main Olympic venues.

"They are trying to detain us so that we don't walk around Sochi. We want to say the truth about what is happening in Sochi," Tolokonnikova told AFP news agency from the police station after being detained.

She accused the police of using force against them and said they would file a complaint.

"They beat us. The fact that they used force is awful. We have bruises and scratches," Tolokonnikova said.

Tolokonnikova also told AFP that she and Alyokhina had already been in Sochi for two days with the aim of performing a new song titled "Putin will teach you how to love the motherland".

She added that they had already managed to stage "some Olympic performances" before their arrest, but did not give any further details.

Third arrest

Tolokonnikova said police already held and questioned her and Alyokhina for seven hours on Sunday and 10 hours on Monday.

Kremlin critics slammed the arrests as a public disaster for the Winger Games, which still have just under a week to go.

"What kind of idiot do you have to be to arrest Pussy Riot in Sochi during the Olympics? No [PR] agency can help here," said Alexei Navalny, a Russian protest leader.

Pussy Riot members free after nearly two years in penal colonies

A third member of Pussy Riot, named only as "Tank", photographer Yevgeny Feldman, local activist David Khakim and Semyon Simonov of the Memorial rights group were also among those arrested.

The two members of Pussy Riot were convicted of hooliganism in 2012 and sentenced to two years in prison after staging their so-called "punk prayer" in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.

They were released in early December 2013 under a Kremlin-backed amnesty.

All those arrested Tuesday morning have now been released.

508

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
join our mailing list