Pussy Riot mem­bers de­tained over protest in Siberian city

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Rus­sian po­lice yes­ter­day de­tained two mem­bers of Pussy Riot af­ter they staged a protest in sup­port of a jailed Ukrainian film­maker in a Siberian city. Maria Alyokhina, one of the punk rock group’s mem­bers pre­vi­ously jailed for a protest against Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, wrote on Twit­ter that she and Olga Borisova were be­ing held in Yakutsk.

Alyokhina tweeted that they had been taken to a po­lice sta­tion af­ter protest­ing in sup­port of film­maker Oleg Sentsov, who is serv­ing a 20-year term for “ter­ror­ist” of­fences in Yakutsk, al­most 5,000 kilo­me­ters east of Moscow. “We’re in Yakutsk po­lice sta­tion No. 2,” Alyokhina wrote. Borisova, in a video from a po­lice car posted on Twit­ter, added: “We’re go­ing to the po­lice sta­tion... on sus­pi­cion of com­mit­ting an ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fence, (hold­ing) an un­sanc­tioned rally.”

Alyokhina on Sun­day posted pho­tos and a video of their brief protest on a bridge, call­ing Sentsov’s case “one of the key po­lit­i­cal cases in the his­tory of our coun­try.” For the protest, the women donned the group’s sig­na­ture colour­ful bala­clavas and held flares and a sign say­ing “Free Sentsov.” Sentsov was con­victed for mas­ter­mind­ing ar­son at­tacks on pro-Krem­lin party of­fices in Crimea af­ter Rus­sia an­nexed the penin­sula from Ukraine in March 2014.

His case was de­nounced by the West and film­mak­ers around the world con­tinue to speak out in sup­port for him. Ukrainian For­eign Min­is­ter Pavlo Klimkin praised the protest, writ­ing on Twit­ter: “Re­spect to @pussyrrriot for build­ing the bridge of free­dom in Yakutsk. #FreeSentsov” Alyokhina served a prison term for a protest per­for­mance in a Moscow cathe­dral, be­ing con­victed of hooli­gan­ism mo­ti­vated by re­li­gious ha­tred.

Else­where, res­cuers yes­ter­day des­per­ately tried to con­tact eight min­ers miss­ing in a flooded Siberian di­a­mond mine as in­ves­ti­ga­tors opened a probe into sus­pected vi­o­la­tions of safety rules. The ac­ci­dent on Fri­day at the mine in the Sakha re­gion some 4,000 kilo­me­ters east of Moscow saw wa­ter flood in from a dis­used crater.

Rus­sia’s In­ves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee, which probes se­ri­ous crimes, said Mon­day it had opened a crim­i­nal case over sus­pected breaches of safety pro­ce­dures at the mine, owned by the coun­try’s largest di­a­mond pro­ducer Al­rosa, pun­ish­able by up to three years in jail. Res­cuers helped an in­jured miner es­cape on Sat­ur­day, bring­ing the to­tal who have been evac­u­ated to 143. He was hos­pi­tal­ized in a se­ri­ous con­di­tion with hy­pother­mia.

Spe­cial­ized climbers were work­ing on Mon­day to try to es­tab­lish com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the sec­tion where the re­main­ing eight men are be­lieved to be trapped by send­ing a sig­nal through a drainage pipe, Al­rosa said in a state­ment. The com­pany’s pres­i­dent Sergei Ivanov said Sun­day that res­cuers were try­ing to reach a lo­ca­tion where the min­ers may be trapped, but the com­pany de­nied a re­port that their ex­act where­abouts had been iden­ti­fied.

Spe­cial­ist res­cuers were also work­ing in­side the mine to clear tun­nels blocked by mud from the flood­ing and rock frag­ments from the min­ing process, Al­rosa said. The emer­gency sit­u­a­tions min­istry said res­cuers had al­ready ex­plored along tun­nels stretch­ing al­most seven kilo­me­ters and had cleared 200 me­ters of blocked tun­nels.

The com­pany was also work­ing to set up ex­tra pumps to re­move wa­ter from the huge crater that is leak­ing into the un­der­ground mine shafts, to en­sure the res­cuers’ safety. Rel­a­tives of the men still in­side in the mine flew into the town of Mirny where the mine is lo­cated, Al­rosa said, and were set to meet the com­pany’s lead­er­ship and res­cuers. Al­rosa made a net profit of 22.7 bil­lion rubles ($376.37 mil­lion) in the first quar­ter of 2017.— Agen­cies

YAKUTSK: In this hand­out photo re­leased by Zona.me­dia, Maria Alyokhina and Olga Borisova, mem­bers of the Rus­sian punk band Pussy Riot, hold flares and a ban­ner on the bridge nearby out­side the prison colony. —AP

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