×
Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Russian Playwright, Director Face 6-year Jail Terms for ‘Justifying Terrorism'

Theater director Zhenya Berkovich and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk. Dmitry Serebryakov / AP / TASS

A Russian prosecutor has sought six-year jail terms for a playwright and a director on trial for "justifying terrorism" in a 2021 play about women marrying jihadists in Syria, lawyers said Friday.

Director Yevgeniya Berkovich and writer Svetlana Petriychuk are standing trial at a military court over their play about Russian women lured to marry Islamic State (IS) militants.

The lawyers representing the director, Advokaty Pro Lyudei, wrote on Telegram that the prosecutor at the closed-door trial in Moscow had asked on Thursday for Berkovich, 39, and Petriychuk, 44, to each be sentenced to six years in a penal colony.

The next trial hearing will be on Monday.

The women's arrest in May last year sent shockwaves through Russia's artistic community, which has faced mounting pressure from the Kremlin since Moscow sent troops to Ukraine in early 2022.

Their trial opened in May this year and last month a judge ruled that hearings would continue behind closed doors at the request of the prosecution.

Their play, "Finist The Brave Falcon", revolves around Russian women groomed online to join IS and then tried for terrorism on their return home.

It was awarded two Golden Mask awards, Russia's top theater prize.

Berkovich has also written poems criticizing the Russian military offensive in Ukraine.

Her supporters have said they believe she may be being punished for those verses.

Human rights group Amnesty International has said the pair are "being targeted simply for exercizing the right to freedom of expression" and called for their immediate release.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more