Pussy Riot's Pyotr Verzilov Arrested in Russia for the "Organization of Riots"

Pussy Riot's Pyotr Verzilov Arrested in Russia for the 'Organization of Riots'
Russian-Canadian Pussy Riot member Pyotr "Peter" Verzilov has reportedly been detained by Russian police for involvement in the "organization of riots."

In a Google Doc detailing the account of Verzilov's arrest, the band claim he was taken from his home on the morning of June 21 and interrogated after Russian police cut his door open with a grinder — without a court order.

Pussy Riot also claim that Verzilov was attacked by a "provocateur hired by police" after he was released, leading to a second arrest. He remains in police custody and awaits a court hearing where he likely will face charges of "hooliganism" for the altercation. 

Pussy Riot claim that the arrest is in relation to police allegations that Verzilov played a part in organizing a riot on July 27, 2019. They maintain that Verzilov was not in the country during the period in question, as he was meeting with the president of Estonia at the time.

Pussy Riot's account reads:

On the 21th of June, at 7 am moscow time, 20 policemen cut out the door of Pussy Riot's Peter Verzilov with a grinder. Police, including a police dog, were led by three officers of the Investigative Committee. They conducted a search. The search report states that Verzilov's items were seized "confirming involvement in the organization of the riots, as well as confirming the involvement of others in the use of violence against government officials". Verzilov was searched without a court order. 

Peter did not have a chance to contact his relatives of his lawyer. He was brought to the police department o be interrogated. For 13 hours, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., interrogation was carried out under the direction of Major General Rustam Gabdulin (a cop known for developing political cases). Peter was questioned as the organizer of the "riots" in Moscow on July 27, 2019. The police were mainly interested in questions about rallies, Verzilov's ties with Navalny, and how exactly he "coordinated the riots". On July 27, 2019, Peter was not in Russia. He was in Estonia in a meeting with the Estonian president. 

At the second Peter left the police department after hours of interrogation, he was attacked and thrown on a ground by a provocateur hired by Putin's political police to initiate a "fight" with Peter. Peter was immediately re-arrested again. The provocateur was (obviously) let go, but Peter was charged with "hooliganism" for a fight (up to 15 days of arrest). 

Peter spent his night in a police department (which is not suitable for sleeping). Today Peter is expecting to appear in front of the court. Most likely, he'll get a few weeks of arrests for "hooliganism". It's still not clear what will happen with accusations of "organizing mass riots" (it's a serious crime punished by years in jail). 

Back in 2018, Verzilov and two other Pussy Riot members were placed under "15 days of administrative arrest" for storming the field of a FIFA World Cup match in Russia while protesting a number of injustices in the Russian judicial system. Following his arrest, Verzilov went into critical condition after showing signs of being poisoned. His diagnosis was later confirmed by doctors

Late last month, the band dropped an anti-police protest anthem "1312" in response to ongoing global demonstrations against racism and police brutality. 

See Pussy Riot's announcement and related tweets below.