Pussy Riot

  1. Pussy Riot activist and blogger held in South Sudan

    A day in detention over drone mix-up

    A group of several high-profile Russian tourists spent an uncomfortable day in detention in the town of Kapoeta in South Sudan on Wednesday in a mix-up over a drone.

    They included Pyotr Verzilov, a member of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot and the publisher of the MediaZona news site, and prominent blogger Ilya Varlamov.

    Before going to South Sudan, the travellers had been touring in Uganda, where Mr Varlamov’s drone was confiscated - but not its remote control, which remained in his luggage.

    When their bags were searched at Kapoeta airport, where they were due to take a plane to South Sudan’s capital, Juba, security officials demanded to know the location of the drone when they found the remote.

    Most African countries have strict laws either banning or restricting the use of drones.

    Attempts to explain that they didn’t have the drone fell on deaf ears, and the group were hauled off to a ramshackle room where they were placed under arrest.

    But the group insisted on keeping their phones so they could contact their embassy and others for help - and tweeted and blogged about their day.

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    As they kicked their heels in the heat waiting for the misunderstanding to be resolved, Mr Varlamov posted photos of their cell, counting 43 hornet nests and many spiders.

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    Amongst the other things he catalogued were three machine gun cartridges, three condoms, a view of the loo and the food they were given.

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    Later in the day, they were eventually released. According to Mr Varlamov’s blog, an army general apologised to them and for the treatment of their guide, who says he was tortured to find out more about the drone.

    It was with relief that they were able to drink some beer afterwards - as they tried to work out how to get to Juba as their plane had long gone.

  2. Video content

    Video caption: Pussy Riot: People have no choice, so Putin is popular

    Opinion polls are worthless in Russia, says Nadya Tolokonnikova a founder of the protest group.

  3. Pussy Riot's Pyotr Verzilov blames Russia for 'poisoning'

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    Pussy Riot member Pyotr Verzilov, who is believed to have been poisoned, has laid the blame squarely on Russia's intelligence services.

    "The poisoning was carried out so professionally that no other conclusion is possible," the activist told German newspaper Bild.

    He fell ill after a court hearing, losing his sight and ability to speak.

    Verzilov, who has a daughter with bandmate and activist Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was flown from Moscow to Berlin for treatment, but discharged from hospital on Wednesday.

    In the interview with the newspaper, Mr Verzilov said he "firmly believes" Russian secret services are behind the suspected poisoning two weeks ago, "possibly Russia's GRU military intelligence".

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    Mr Verzilov was jailed for 15 days for his part in a World Cup pitch invasion in Russia in July
    Image caption: Mr Verzilov was jailed for 15 days for his part in a World Cup pitch invasion in Russia in July
  4. Video content

    Video caption: Activist Pyotr Verzilov 'poisoned by Russia'

    Pussy Riot's Pyotr Verzilov tells the BBC he believes Russian law enforcement agencies poisoned him.

  5. Pussy Riot activist was probably poisoned say doctors

    Pyotr Verzilov

    Doctors in Germany have confirmed that Pytor Verzilov, an activist with the Russian protest punk group was probably the victim of a poisoning attempt.

    He was taken ill after a court hearing in Moscow last week and flown to Berlin after arriving at hospital in a serious condition.

    The 30-year-old's symptoms reportedly included losing his sight and the ability to speak.

    Mr Verzilov is best known for taking part in a protest at the Football World Cup Final earlier this year.

    He is married to fellow Pssy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (pictured below).

    Dr Kai-Uwe Eckardt from Berlin's Charité hospital said it was "highly plausible that it was a case of poisoning".

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    Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
  6. Pussy Riot activist reported to be seriously ill in hospital

    Pyotr Verzilov

    Pyotr Verzilov, one of the feminist punk band's activists who was arrested after invading the World Cup Final pitch, is reported to have been taken to hospital in a serious condition.

    Relatives told a a Russian news website they believed he may have suffered poisoning but there is no official word on his condition.

    Mr Verzilov is married to Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (below), the Pussy Riot member who was sentenced in 2012 to two years in jail for a performance at a Moscow cathedral and has since become an internationally known activist.

    Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

    He reportedly fell ill after a court hearing on Tuesday for fellow Pussy Riot activist Veronika Nikulshina.

    Ms Nikulshina told Meduza that Mr Verzilov had complained of losing his sight, "then the ability to talk, then the ability to walk".

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  7. Pussy Riot member Maria talks about her hopes for new book and show

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    Video caption: Pussy Riot member Masha Alekhina talks about her new book and Edinburgh Fringe show

    The punk activist, one of the original members of the feminist protest group, has said she "escaped" Russia to travel to the Edinburgh Fringe for her new show.

    Maria Alyokhina claims the Russian government banned her from leaving the country but she defied the ban to make it to Scotland's capital.

    The show is a combination of electronica, theatre, documentary and protest and is called Pussy Riot: Riot Days.

    The show runs until 19 August and is based on Maria's book of the same name and tells her account of the arrest, trial and imprisonment.

    6 Music's Clare Crane has been speaking to Maria to find out more.

  8. Pussy Riot member Masha Alekhina talks about her new book and Edinburgh Fringe show

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    Video caption: Pussy Riot member Masha Alekhina talks about her new book and Edinburgh Fringe show
  9. Video content

    Video caption: Why Pussy Riot crashed the World Cup final

    Members of the group have already served prison sentences for the stunt but could face further charges.

  10. Pussy Riot members re-released from detention in Russia

    Olga Pakhtusova, Olga Kurachyova, Veronika Nikulshina and Pyotr Verzilov
    Image caption: Olga Pakhtusova, Olga Kurachyova, Veronika Nikulshina and Pyotr Verzilov

    Four members of Pussy Riot have been released from police custody after being detained for 16 days, their lawyer has said.

    The punk band staged a pitch invasion during the World Cup final in Moscow and were initially released after a 15-day sentence on Tuesday.

    But the group were immediately detained after being released and held for a further day before being finally let go, according to Nikolai Vasilyev.

    They could face further charges of disobeying the police and of holding a public event without prior permission, which carries a maximum jail terms of 10 and 15 days.

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  11. Four jailed members of punk band Pussy Riot are re-arrested on release

    Nika Nikulshina, Olga Kurachyova and Olga Pakhtusova are re-arrested
    Image caption: Nika Nikulshina, Olga Kurachyova and Olga Pakhtusova are re-arrested in Moscow

    The four members of the feminist punk protest band who staged a pitch invasion during the World Cup final in Moscow have been detained moments after being released from jail.

    Three female activists were re-arrested outside the detention centre where they had spent their 15-day sentence.

    Pyotr Verzilov, the fourth protester, said on Twitter that he was also detained again and was going to be held overnight.

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    Authorities said they violated the rules for spectators at sporting events and wore police uniforms illegally.

    Pussy Riot said it was a protest against human rights abuses in Russia.

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