Pussy Riot member put on wanted list by Russian police

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Pyotr Verzilov denies being part of the band Russian security services have put the prominent member of punk band Pussy Riot on a wanted list, the band’s lawyer…

Pussy Riot member put on wanted list by Russian police

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Pyotr Verzilov denies being part of the band

Russian security services have put the prominent member of punk band Pussy Riot on a wanted list, the band’s lawyer says.

Pyotr Verzilov is accused of faking his online profile to fool authorities, a former colleague says.

Pussy Riot have previously defended jailed activist Alexander Pravda in a legal battle between the organisations.

The Russian group rose to prominence as critics of President Vladimir Putin.

The arrested individuals were both members of the now-defunct punk art collective named People On Top.

A lawyer for Verzilov has denied the charges.

“On what reason, for which crime? He is not a terrorist or Pussy Riot member,” lawyer Irina Khrunova told Reuters news agency.

“We are not talking about one time he went out of town. The aim of this fraud is not so much to secure someone a sentence,” she added.

Pyotr Verzilov is not yet on the Interpol wanted list, but he is already on a US Department of State’s terrorism list, with that country having added his photograph to its “most wanted” list.

A man described by Russian investigators as an employee of the federal anti-extremism agency, Zhelyazkov, was also added to the wanted list on Friday, Interfax reported.

Mr Zhelyazkov was suspected of being part of a criminal gang that had links to Pussy Riot, one of whom was allegedly detained with a list of names for investigation, the Russian security service’s Investigative Committee said.

Verzilov and his partner Maria Alyokhina have been on a Russia visa ban list since 2015.

Ms Alyokhina, who now lives in Ireland, is a member of Pussy Riot’s international activist committee. Verzilov, who is a citizen of Latvia, lives and works in Russia.

Pussy Riot burst on to the scene in 2012 with a series of stunts aimed at exposing Mr Putin’s administration, including a performance in a Moscow cathedral.

Maria Alyokhina (L) was a member of Pussy Riot with Maria Petya (C) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

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