Europe

Russia World Cup: Pussy Riot protesters detained on leaving jail

Intruders affiliated to anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot, Veronika Nikulshina, Olga Kurachyova and Olga Pakhtusova, who ran onto the pitch during the World Cup final between France and Croatia, walk out of a detention centre Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Nika Nikulshina, Olga Kurachyova and Olga Pakhtusova were detained shortly after leaving prison

Members of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot, jailed after running on to the pitch during the World Cup final, say they have been detained again as they walked free from prison.

Pyotr Verzilov, Nika Nikulshina, Olga Kurachyova and Olga Pakhtusova were jailed for 15 days earlier this month.

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.

It is unclear exactly why the activists, who have also been banned from attending sports events for three years, have been detained again.

Verzilov tweeted that he and the other activists, who were in a different detention centre, were all held as they tried to leave.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The group of activists interrupted the World Cup final

In a later tweet [in Russian], he said they were not facing any charges.

"The Luzhniki police station says that there's an order to keep us in overnight - until some procedures take place in the morning," he said. "They will keep all four (of us) in overnight, the police say. But there are no charges."

The four were originally arrested after interrupting the second half of the Croatia v France match, held in Moscow, Russia, for about 25 seconds on 15 July.

They wore police-style uniforms - white shirts, black trousers and epaulettes.

One protester managed to do a high-five hand gesture with France star Kylian Mbappé before being led off the pitch.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Pyotr Verzilov said on Twitter they were being held overnight

But Verzilov was grabbed in anger by Croatia defender Dejan Lovren. After the incident Lovren told reporters: "I just lost my head and I grabbed the guy and I wished I could throw him away from the stadium."

Verzilov later told the BBC they were "speaking for Russia".

"Throughout the World Cup, which I really enjoyed, there wasn't a word of political criticism [against the government]," he said in an interview conducted in jail.

"I categorically disagree with Western countries who call for a boycott of Russian sporting events. But to avoid criticising what's going on in Russia today is wrong."

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