- Title: Russian director who mocked state and church gets suspended fraud sentence
- Date: 26th June 2020
- Summary: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (JUNE 26, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE CHEERING IN FRONT OF COURT (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SUPPORTER, DANIIL, SAYING: "It's very unexpected, in a good sense of course. (QUESTION OFF CAMERA: ARE YOU HAPPY?) Yes of course." SUPPORTERS CHEERING (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SUPPORTER, POLINA, SAYING: "I am happy! When I was reading the news, I thought it would be a real prison term. That's Russian justice. Maybe they want everyone to like the verdict." SUPPORTERS CHEERING (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SUPPORTERS, MARIA, GLAFIRA, DMITRY, SAYING: GLAFIRA: 'We are very happy!' MARIA: 'We have won!' GLAFIRA: 'We are happy that our genius is not going to jail." DMITRY: 'I am sure that there will be some amnesty or the suspended sentence will just be cancelled. **INAUDIBLE**' GLAFIRA: 'The power is in the truth.' VARIOUS OF MASKED POLICE OFFICER VARIOUS OF POSTER READING (English) 'FREE KIRILL' IN CROWD OF CHEERING SUPPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) PRODUCER ALEXEI MALJBRODSKY SAYING: "Thank you very much to everyone for the support. I am very happy that I am going home now. I am really dissatisfied with the verdict; I will appeal against it." MALOBRODSKY LEAVING (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SOFIA APFELBAUM'S LAWYER, IRINA POVERINOVA, SAYING: "I am very happy of course, but if we speak about absolute happiness, we're happy 90 percent and unhappy 10 percent, because Sofia is not guilty of anything, she did not neglect any of her duties. We plan to appeal against the verdict and prove that Sofia had, has and will have an immaculate reputation. We are happy for ourselves, for Sofia and for myself as a lawyer. And we are sad for the guys who have been accused of fraud, so we will continue to appeal against it all together." SUPPORTERS OUTSIDE COURT (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) ACTRESS, YULIA AUG, SAYING: "Our beautiful friends, the accused in this case, our heroes, will be home today. Hooray - not in prison. But in reality, a guilty verdict for innocent people, a suspended sentence and fines for money that wasn't stolen - it is cynicism and a disgrace." COURT BUILDING RUSSIAN FLAG OUTSIDE COURT
- Embargoed: 10th July 2020 17:35
- Keywords: Russia Serebrennikov Seventh Studio art court fraud lawsuit theatre verdict
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- City: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA002CK0BX3B
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Award-winning Russian film and theater director Kirill Serebrennikov was given a suspended three-year jail sentence on Friday (June 26) after being convicted of embezzlement, a much more lenient punishment than his supporters had expected.
Many in the liberal cultural establishment saw the case as a bid to silence someone whose work mocked the role of the church and state in Russian society, and leading critic of the Kremlin Alexei Navalny dismissed it as a fabrication.
The 50-year-old artistic director of Moscow's avant-garde Gogol Centre theater was found guilty of leading a criminal group with the colleagues that stole 129 million roubles ($1.87 million) in state funds. Prosecutors had demanded six years' jail, while the defendants denied any wrongdoing.
The court ordered them to return the allegedly stolen funds, and fined Serebrennikov 800,000 roubles ($11,500).
Hundreds of supporters who had gathered outside the court cheered the director and bunched around him as he left the court in a baseball cap, sunglasses and anti-coronavirus face mask.
"Observe social distancing! Don't infect each another - because we need to fight for the truth!" he told them.
The Kremlin declined to comment. It said it had noted anger among some cultural figures, but that there was no sign of broad public tension around the case.
Serebrennikov's lawyer said he planned to appeal and seek an acquittal, the RIA news agency reported. It said the court had maintained a lien on some property and money belonging to the defendants.
Navalny, who built his profile by campaigning against establishment corruption, said it was hard to see the outcome as a victory, despite the unexpectedly lenient sentence.
"Three years suspended for Serebrennikov is criminal punishment for a deliberately fabricated case," he tweeted.
(Production: Alexander Reshetnikov, Anton Derbenev)
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