A Moscow court said on Tuesday it had extended until March 10 the detention of a prominent Russian theatre director and a playwright who have been held since last May on charges of “justifying terrorism”.
Director Yevgenia (Zhenya) Berkovich and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk are accused of vindicating terrorism in the award-winning play, “Finist, the Brave Falcon”, which is about Russian women who married Islamic State fighters.
Investigators opened the case against the two women last May over Petriychuk’s play, which premiered in 2020 under Berkovich’s direction.
Since Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine in 2022, Moscow has intensified a clampdown on freedom of expression, and encouraged citizens to report anyone they suspect of demonstrating disloyalty.
The detention of the two women has drawn condemnation from several prominent Russian artists and cultural figures. The play won two “Golden Mask” national theatre awards in 2022 and Berkovich also received a nomination for best director.