Trial of Russian Theater Director & Playwright Charged With 'Terrorism' Will Move Forward in Military Court

No hearing dates have been set.

By: Apr. 19, 2024
Trial of Russian Theater Director & Playwright Charged With 'Terrorism' Will Move Forward in Military Court
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The Moscow Times, one of the few remaining outlets with comprehensive coverage on Russia critical of the Kremlin, reports that The Second Western Military Garrison Court is set to hear the case against theater director Yevgenia Berkovich and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk, who are facing charges of "justifying terrorism" with their play Finist the Brave Falcon.

The Moscow Prosecutor’s Office confirmed on Friday that the indictment has been finalized and the case has been forwarded to the military court. The exact date for the hearings has not been disclosed.

Berkovich and Petriychuk, who were arrested in May 2023, have been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention until at least May 4. They could face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

The charges stem from the content of their award-winning play, which depicts Russian women falling in love with Islamist militants. The Moscow Prosecutor’s Office stated, "According to investigators, Petriychuk drafted the script which psychological and linguistic expertise found to contain signs of justification and propaganda of terrorist activities."

The play has been shown at various festivals and theater organizations, as well as online, gaining notoriety before the legal actions commenced. It is currently available for rent via Stage Russia.

In addition to the legal proceedings, Rosfinmonitoring, Russia’s state financial watchdog, has added Berkovich and Petriychuk to its list of "terrorists and extremists." This designation permits authorities to freeze their bank accounts without a court order.

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