May 14, 2024

Theater Directors Face More Detention


Theater Directors Face More Detention
Zhenya Berkovich in a hearing on May 5, 2023.  AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Theater director Zhenya Berkovich and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk have been sentenced to six more months of detention before their trial.

Berkovich and Petriychuk recently marked one year since the beginning of their imprisonment. The pair were arrested on May 5, 2023, on charges of "promoting terrorism" in a play staged in 2021, in which two Russian women are recruited into ISIS. 

Over the past year, Berkovich and Petriychuk have become key figure of dissent against the Kremlin and its persecution of artists and journalists who have spoken out against the war. In March, Berkovich wrote a letter for Pravmir about adopting her two daughters in 2019 and how painful it has been to be separated from them.

In a hearing on May 3, Berkovich reported that her daughters had fallen into ill health as a result of her imprisonment and argued to the court that her children should not suffer for her alleged wrongdoing: "They are simply not guilty of anything, they are not accused of anything, but they suffer much more seriously." 

Their trial is now set for October 2024. 

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