Russian filmmaker and theatre director Kirill Serebrennikov, on trial for embezzlement, has been released from house arrest.
A Moscow city court judge has overturned a decision by a lower tribunal to extend the director’s detention for three months, Serebrennikov’s lawyer told the AFP. He will now be able to work and communicate providing he remains in Moscow where he is still due to face trial in a $2M fraud case.
Serebrennikov, the head of Moscow’s Gogol Centre theatre, has been detained since August 2017. Supporters say he is facing politically trumped up charges.
His co-defendants Sofia Apfelbaum and Yury Itin were also freed from house arrest today. The trio are accused of creating an organized criminal group and embezzling state funding for a theatre project called Platforma. Serebrennikov has insisted the money was used properly and called the charges “absurd”.
Avant-garde director Serebrennikov, whose films have played at Cannes, Venice, Locarno, Karlovy Vary and Tribeca, was unable to attend the premiere of latest feature Summer at the Cannes Film Festival last year. The rock musical, which played in competition, was viewed as a thinly veiled swipe at Putin’s Russia.
Signatories of a petition calling for the director’s release included Cate Blanchett and German actress Nina Hoss.