Sochi: Pussy Riot Members Say They Were Arrested at Olympics

Pussy Riot
Pussy Riot
 AP Photo/Axel Schmidt

The two members of activist Russian punk group Pussy Riot who were recently released from prison said on Twitter Tuesday that they were both arrested in Sochi during the Winter Olympics.

"We have been arrested...and are accused of robbery," Pussy Riot member Nadzehda Tolokonnikova tweeted. 

Her bandmate Maria Alyokhina tweeted that she had also been detained. They were arrested in central Sochi, some 30 kilometers north of the main Olympic venues.
 
 
Tolokonnikova later tweeted that she and other detainees had been assaulted during their arrest. She wrote that she was thrown to the floor and "dragged face [down along a] floor." She added: "Putin will teach you to love the motherland!"

With a touch of humor she noted that she, Alyokhina and others had been "detained [by] a mustachioed colonel, suspiciously similar to Govorukhin."

Stanislav Govorukhin, a Soviet-era film director, is a senior Kremlin advisor and managed president Vladimir Putin's re-election campaign in 2012.

Tolokonnikova said she had been "forced to testify without a lawyer" and planned to file a complaint about this and the alleged assault at Russia's Supreme Court.

Alekhina also tweeted: "In the investigator's office dragged up the stairs, all bruised. Let's apply to the Supreme Court."

Alekhina and Tolokonnikova spent nearly two years in prison after being convicted of "hooliganism" over a protest performance they staged in a Moscow cathedral. They were released last December.  

Russian journalist Evgeny Feldman, who was on the scene in Sochi with the band members, says the two women were arrested on suspicion of stealing from a hotel.

Tolonnikova's husband, Pyotr Verzilov, was quoted by Echo of Moscow radio news as saying that the women had initially been detained by an officer of the Russian Federal Security Border Service, a successor body to the KGB, and that local police then arrived.

The women were taken for questioning to a nearby police station but were told they would be released.

Seven other people were also detained, including Feldman himself, despite showing officers his journalistic credentials.

Echo of Moscow says this is actually not the first time the women have been detained since arriving in Sochi over the weekend. The news outfit reports that they were also detained on Sunday and Monday.

The Pussy Riot pair were in Sochi to perform a song entitled "Putin Will Teach You to Love the Motherland" and to film a music video, the station reported. 

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