Person of the Week: Petr Pavlensky

posted 20 May 2016, 09:56 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 May 2016, 10:28 ]
On 18 May 2016 Petr Pavlensky, held in pre-trial detention in Moscow, alleged that police officers escorting him to Moscow City Court assaulted him, causing serious injury. RFE/RL reported that he passed a message from his detention cell, saying: "I have a broken knee, a fractured rib, internal bruising. Every breath I take is painful. [...] Every day, I see what 'police custody' means." Oksana Shalygina, Pavlensky's partner, said after visiting him in custody on 17 May: "At the Moscow City Court, they regularly beat arrestees and prisoners. They just load them into the van and beat them. They just throw them around like pieces of meat. Pyotr got into that situation. [...] He was beaten by eight men using batons and their fists. A doctor at the detention centre treated him, but refused to document the beating." The Moscow Times reported that Pavlensky's lawyer, Dmitry Dinze, told the Mediazona news website that his client “will not deal with these cops” as he doesn't want to “participate in the bureaucratic procedures.” Petr Pavlensky has been held in custody while facing two charges, one being a charge of vandalism for setting car tyres on fire on a St. Petersburg bridge in February 2014 in support for Ukraine's Euromaidan protesters, a second concerning damage to a 'historical monument' for setting the door to the Moscow headquarters of the FSB on fire in November 2014. As Robert Coalson has reported in relation to the second charge, Russian prosecutors are claiming that the building on the Lubyanka is a 'historical monument' because 'leading cultural figures were held there during Josef Stalin's Great Terror.'

On 19 May 2016 Petr Pavlensky was convicted of vandalism in relation to his pro-Ukraine protest in St Peterburg and sentenced to 16 months of ‘freedom limitation.’ The court ruled that he would not serve time for this sentence since the statute of limitations had expired for this offence. Petr Pavlensky remains in custody awaiting trial for setting the FSB HQ door on fire. 

Photo: Wikipedia

'Russian artist arrested for setting fire to security service HQ,' The Guardian, 9 November 2015
'Pavlensky Beaten Up by Police in Moscow City Court,' The Moscow Times, 17 May 2016
Dmitry Volchek, 'Russian Protest Artist Pavlensky Alleges Police Brutality,' RFE/RL, 18 May 2016
'Trial of Russian Performance Artist Pavlensky Begins in Moscow,' The Moscow Times, 18 May 2016
'Performance Artist Pavlensky Convicted In Moscow For Pro-Ukraine Protest,' RFE/RL, 19 May 2016
'Russian Performance Artist Pavlensky Avoids Jail After Vandalism Verdict,' The Moscow Times, 19 May 2016
Robert Coalson, 'Russian Prosecutors Find Novel Justification For FSB Building's "Cultural Value",' RFE/RL, 19 May 2016