Pussy Riot member jailed for 15 days over World Cup final pitch invasion

Four charged with ‘violation of spectators’ rights’ and illegally wearing police symbols

A member of Pussy Riot dressed in a police uniform participates in a pitch invasion during the World Cup final between France and Croatia on Sunday. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

A member of Pussy Riot dressed in a police uniform participates in a pitch invasion during the World Cup final between France and Croatia on Sunday. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

 

A Moscow court has handed down a 15-day jail sentence to a member of female punk protest group Pussy Riot for interrupting Sunday’s World Cup final between France and Croatia, when four people ran onto the pitch wearing fake police uniforms.

The judge also banned Veronika Nikulshina from attending sports events for three years.

Authorities in Moscow charged the four pitch invaders, three women and a man, with “violation of spectators’ rights” and illegally wearing police symbols when they ran on to the field during the big match.

Three others were due to be sentenced later on Monday over the episode at Moscow’s 81,000-seat Luzhniki Stadium.

Seen by Putin

The interruption was seen by Russian president Vladimir Putin from his VIP box and by international broadcast audiences watching one of the world’s most viewed sporting events.

Pussy Riot has issued statements on social media calling for the curtailing of policing powers and other reforms in Russia.

The group has antagonised Mr Putin for years and members have served time in prison for staging various high-profile protests.

Olga Kurachyova, another of the four involved, said the stunt was meant to promote freedom of speech and to condemn the world footballing body, Fifa.

“It is a pity that we disrupted the sportsmen,” Ms Kurachyova told reporters.

“Fifa is involved in unfair games unfortunately. Fifa is a friend of heads of states who carry out repression, which violate human rights.” – AP/Reuters