Serebrennikov Convicted of Fraud

On Friday, June 26, the Moscow judge gave Kirill Serebrennikov a suspended sentence to three years probation and a three-year ban on leading any state-backed cultural institution in Russia. However, the judge said that the defendants would be required to repay nearly 129 million rubles in compensation for the money allegedly embezzled. Co-defendants Yury Itin and Konstantin Malobrodsky were also found guilty of conspiring to mislead the culture ministry for “personal enrichment” and also sentenced to probation. The fourth defendant, Sofya Apfelbaum, was convicted of negligence.

Artists around the world expressed their solidarity, an online petition in Germany got 57.000 subscribers.  The representative of the EU foreign service Peter Stano and Germany’s Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance Bärbel Kofler expressed their demand for a fair and transparent trial. 

Sources: The Guradian, NY Times, German Federal Office, TASS

Prosecutor Seeks 6 Years for Kirill Serebrennikov

The case of the “Platform” Projekt at the Gogol Center’s “Seventh Studio” Kirill Serebrennikov has been going on for more than three years (see also our former posts at ACAR). On June 22 the judicial investigation has ended. The state prosecution considered proven guilty persons involved in the  case of Serebrennikov, asks to plead Kirill Serebrennikov, Alexey Malobrodsky, Yury Itin and Sophia Apfelbaum and sentence them with following punishments: 6 years of imprisonment in a penal colony with a fine of 800 thousand rubles for Serebrennikov , 5 years for Malobrodsky and 4 years for Itin and Apfelbaum as well.
At the same time the prosecution corrects the amount of damage from 133 million 237 thousand rubles to 128 million 974 thousand rubles.
The court will pass a verdict in the coming days.

The Gogol Center has published Kirill Serebrennikov’s speech at the Meshchansky court on June 22nd: Platform Lessons 

 

Sources: Russsian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI), Russia Today (RT), Gogol Center’s Facebook page

LGBT Dancer/Choreographer Kirvan Fortuin murdered

Dancer and choreographer Kirvan Fortuin died after being stabbed on June 13. The South African founder and artistic director of the Kirvan Fortuin Foundation and founder of House of Le Cap, South Africa’s first ballroom house Fortuin was also a dedicated LGBTQI+ activist.

For the past few years Fortuin resided between South Africa and the Netherlands, and danced for a Dutch dance company. He received many awards, among them a Ministerial recommendation at the Western Cape Cultural Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Preservation and Promotion of an Indigenous Art form.

Source:  CapeTownetc  

Impact of the Pandemic on Human Rights

For their next thematic reports to the UN General Assembly or the Human Rights Council, the effects of the COVID19 crisis will be closely analysed. A questionnaire will assist the human rights experts to obtain information and elaborate comprehensive recommendations on the measures taken by national, federal and local governments to protect their population and ensure the enjoyment of human rights, including particular groups at risk of discrimination or social exclusion. It consists of a section with joint questions for all mandates, and specific questions for each mandate. The report on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the exercise of cultural rights and on the role of culture and cultural rights in responding to the pandemic will be presented by Karima Bennoune in March 2021. The joint questionnaire can be consulted and downloaded online and should be sent electronically no later than 19 June 2020.

Albanian National Theatre Demolished

On Sunday, May 17, the historic National Theatre in Tirana has been demolished. Since 2018, artists and citizens have staged the longest active protest in the history of Albania to protect the theatre from demolition by the government (see ACAR posts 1, 2)  The government moved in amidst the emergency situation and lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus crisis. Resisting citizens, sitting in front of the theatre, were removed and detained. The Albanian National Theater is officially part of Europa Nostra’s 7 Most Endangered European Heritage Sites list for 2020.

Albania’s President Ilir Meta has called the demolition of the National Theatre by his own government “a constitutional, legal and moral crime that cannot be granted amnesty.”, done by the Mafia. The decision to demolish Albania’s National Theatre was approved in secret and was not on the agenda for the meeting of the Tirana Municipal Council.

Sources: exit news 1, 2, 3, 4; Europa Nostra, video 

Yulia Tsvetkova is the Freedom of Expression Awards Arts Fellow 2020

The 20th Freedom of Expression Awards were held online on Thursday 16th April as a digital celebration. The Russian theater director, visual artist, and activist from Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Yulia Tsvetkova (see our posts 1, 2),  has been awarded the 2020 Freedom of Expression Award Arts Fellow. Index on Censorship works with the fellows during the awarding year to provide long-term, structured support. 

The other 2020 fellows are: Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei (campaigning); Turkish lawyer Veysel Ok (campaigning); 7amleh (digital activism) and OKO press (journalism).

Watch Yulia’s statement here