Pussy Riot members detained in Sochi
The pair were released after questioning, but say they and other activists were beaten by police
By Sophia Kishkovsky. Web only
Published online: 18 February 2014
Russian police again detained Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina on Monday while in Sochi during the Winter Olympics. The pair were held in connection with a theft at a local hotel, police said, but were released later that day and no claims have been filed against them.
“We came to Sochi to sing,” Tolokonnikova told The Art Newspaper by cell phone while in police custody, adding that she and other activists had been beaten by police.
Tolokonnikova posted to Twitter throughout her time in Sochi, where the pair planned to perform a new song called “Putin Will Teach You To Love The Motherland” that will be used in a video. She said that the detentions had nothing to do with theft. “If a person is arrested for no reason while walking the streets of the city, that is a preventative detention, and they are happening one after another,” she said before her cell phone connection was cut off.
“This is blatant lawlessness, even we are amazed.” she had tweeted earlier. “They dragged me face down on the parquet of the police department’s auditorium, twisted my arms and threw me on the floor. Putin will teach you to love the motherland!” Later she tweeted that once their lawyer was finally allowed in, the police “became gentler”. She said that they had been detained by police on Sunday as well and by the FSB intelligence service for ten hours on Monday.
Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were released from prison in December in an sweeping amnesty by President Vladimir Putin that was seen by many as a pre-Olympics PR move. Since the Winter Games began in Sochi on 7 February, Human Rights Watch has reported dozens of detentions by police following peaceful protests in Moscow, St Petersburg and Nalchik, in the Northern Caucasus.
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