2 members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot detained

MOSCOW (AP) — Two members of the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot were detained Monday after a protest outside the prison colony where a Ukrainian filmmaker is being held.

The band members staged a protest Sunday outside the prison colony in Siberia’s Yakutia where Oleg Sentsov is serving his sentence, unfurling a banner on a nearby bridge that read “Free Sentsov!”

Longtime Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina tweeted that she and Olga Borisova were detained early Monday. A website focusing on court and legal news that Alyokhina and another band member helped set up, Mediazona, released a video showing police stopping the car in which the two women were traveling and asking the women to follow them to the police station.

A Russian military court convicted Sentsov, who comes from the Crimean peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, of conspiracy to commit terror attacks in 2015. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Charges against him were largely seen as politically motivated, and numerous art figures in Russia and abroad have advocated for his release.

Pussy Riot is a loose collective and most of its members perform anonymously. The balaclava-clad women rose to prominence with their daring outdoor performances critical of President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s ruling elite.

An impromptu “punk prayer” at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior that derided the ties between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Kremlin got them into trouble in 2012.

Three band members were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” for the stunt. Alyokhina and another member, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were sentenced to two years in prison.

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