Category Archives: Personal Case

Russia (update): Pre-trial Detention of Yevgenia Berkovich and Svetlana Petriychuk Extended for a Further Six Months

Yevgenia Berkovich and Svetlana Petriychuk were arrested one year ago and have been accused of “justifying terrorism” in their award-winning play “Finist, the Brave Falcon”.  (See ACAR post 1). Without a trial having taken place so far, the pre-trial detention has since been extended several times (2,3); on 10 May again by 6 months until 22 October 2024. In April, both were placed on a list of alleged “terrorists and extremists” by the authorities in Moscow.  Berkovich is the mother of two underage children and had already been sentenced to eleven days in prison in 2022 for a protest action against the Russian war in Ukraine.

Source: Die PresseMoscow Times

Iran: Germany Refuses Visa to Actress Soheila Golestani

Director and actress Soheila Golestani was imprisoned and banned from working in Iran for her public performance on the web about her refusal to wear a head covering in public (November 2022).
One year later, she was invited to the festival “Three Days to Liberation” by the Volksbühne Berlin for a preview screening of scenes from her film “There Were Three of Us” and her VR installation about flight and migration “If You Go Away”. Her visa application was rejected by the German embassy in Tehran and only approved two days after the end of the festival following an intervention by the German Foreign Office.

Sources: Volksbühne Berlin, Instagram, VOA

Russia (update): Detention Extended for Yevgenia Berkovich and Svetlana Petriychuk

Another court hearing took place on 2 November. The public prosecutor’s office again applied for an extension of the pre-trial detention without presenting any evidence that the theatre makers were guilty. The court granted the public prosecutor’s request and extended the period of pre-trial detention until 10 January 2024.
In solidarity with those arrested, Berlin-based Russian-language theatre director Oleg Hristolübskiy staged a staged reading of “Finist, heller Falke” with Berlin actresses Katharina Spiering, Suse Wächter and Elisabeth Heckel, which was shown in Berlin on 28 November and 7 December, followed by discussions.

See also ACAR post 1 and 2

 

Sources: Finist heller FalkeDeutsche Welle (TV Report in Russian)

 

Israel/West Bank: Ahmed Tobasi and Mustafa Sheta Arrested

On Wednesday, 13 December, the Freedom Theatre Jenin was once again raided by Israeli security forces. Artistic director Ahmed Tobasi, producer and general manager Mustafa Sheta, and Jamal Abu Joas, who recently graduated from the Freedom Theatre Performing Arts School, were detained.  Ahmed Tobasi was released the next day, Sheta remains in detention.

In January, Yahya Zubeidi, the brother of the Freedom Theatre co-founder Zakaria Zubeidi, was arrested with no news on his release since.

According statements of the Freedom Theatre Jenin in the last few weeks three members of their company have been killed: Yamen Jarar, a 16-year-old Freedom Theatre participant, by drone fire on Nov. 3, theatre member Jehad Naghniyeh Torokman, 25, by an Israeli military officer, also on Nov. 3,  and Mohammed Matahen, an usher and front-of-house staffer, killed on Nov. 9.

PEN international calls for Ahmed Tobasi and Mustafa Sheta to be immediately and unconditionally releases and for an end to the targeting of writers and artists in Palestine.

Sources: PEN international, American Theatre

Russia: Author Ivan Vyrypaev Sentenced to 8 Years

On 14 December, a Moscow court sentenced Russian playwright and director Ivan Vyrypaev in absentia to eight years in a penal colony. The prosecution had asked for a ten-year sentence. In May, Vyrypaev was put on the wanted list and arrested in absentia. It emerged in court that the case had been opened in October last year.

The playwright was found guilty in the case of disseminating “fakes” about the Russian military motivated by political hatred (Article 207.3, Part 2, Paragraph “d” of the Criminal Code).  The court referred to Vyrypaevs public statements and interviews including an open letter to the Russian theatres from March last year where he has informed all Russian state theatres in which his plays have been performed that the money he receives from them will be donated to Ukrainian funds to support refugees.

Sources: Mediazona, Vypyarev.com

Iran: Mohammad Sadeghi and Mehdi Etemad – Further Arrests of Theatre Artists

After several moments of absence, the Morality Police is back on the streets in Iran. Sunday, July 16 security forces attacked the home of the actor and woman rights defender Mohammad Sadeghi and arrested him because he posted a video expressing his anger over the detention of yet another woman in morality police hands due to her inappropriate hijab. Sadeghi shared his arresting live on Instagram.

The actor Mehdi Etemad Saeed was arrested by security forces on June 9, 2023, in Tehran and is still detained in legal ambiguity. He was reportedly denied access to legal representation and has been charged with “promoting impurity and indecency.” Etemad Saeed’s whereabouts are still unknown.

Sources: HRANA.org, Iran International, Twitter