The lawyers of controversial performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky have appealed the sentence of a St. Petersburg court that saw him escape jail, the Interfax news agency reported Monday.
A court convicted Pavlensky to 16 months in prison after finding him guilty of vandalism on May 19. The artist was excused from serving the sentence due to the expired statute of limitations, but his lawyers say they have gone forward with the appeal. “We demand for the guilty verdict to be voided, and an acquittal to be handed out,” the artist's lawyer Dmitry Dinze said.
The activist was charged with vandalism after setting alight a pile of tires on a St. Petersburg bridge on Feb. 23, 2014. The action, titled “Freedom,” was in support of the Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine, Pavlensky said. Alongside the burning tires, the artist and his friends built an imitation barricade, beat drums and shouted Maidan slogans.
Pavlensky is currently standing another trial on another vandalism charge after setting fire to the door of the Federal Security Service (FSB) headquarters in central Moscow. During one of his first court hearings, he demanded that the charge was amended to terrorism. When prosecutors refused to do so, the artist vowed to sit through the trial in silence without answering questions from the judges.
Pavlensky, 32, has become notorious worldwide for his extreme performances protesting Kremlin policy. Previous actions have seen the artist slicing off part of his ear, wrapping himself in barbed wire while naked, and sewing his own mouth shut.