Artist who torched Russia′s intelligence agency walks free | News | DW | 08.06.2016
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Artist who torched Russia's intelligence agency walks free

A Russian court has slapped a fine on a radical artist for torching the doors of the country's security service headquarters last November. Pyotr Pavlensky said the trial showed the state is based on "terror."

A Moscow court on Wednesday showed rare leniency against radical performing artist Pyotr Pavlensky for setting fire to a door at the Moscow headquarters of the FSB, the successor to the feared Soviet KGB intelligence service.

The court ordered Pavlensky to pay a fine of 6,800 euros ($7,750) and compensate the FSB with an additional 6,550 euros, citing the seven months he had already spent behind bars.

"It does not matter how the trial ended," he said outside the courtroom thanking supporters. "What is important is the fact that we were able to unmask, uncover the truth: the government is founded on the methods of terror," he said, adding he could not pay the fine due to financial difficulties.

Known for a number of odd protest acts against the Russian government, Pavlensky posted a video online in November of him torching the doors of the FSB headquarters in response to the intelligence service's "unending terror" over the Russian people.

His lawyers fought for his freedom even though the artist had asked the judge to try him for terrorism.

He likened his case to that of Ukrainian film maker Oleg Sentsov. He was convicted of terrorism last year for setting fire to the offices of a pro-Kremlin party in Russian-annexed Crimea.

In 2013, Pavlensky nailed his scrotum to the cobblestone in Red Square on Russian Police Day to protest police control. A year earlier he sewed his mouth shut to protest the arrest of members of the punk rock group Pussy Riot.

In another protest he cut off his earlobe while naked and wrapped himself in barbed wire in front of the St. Petersburg Assembly.

In May, Pavlensky was found guilty of setting fire to tires and waving Ukrainian flags in St. Petersburg last year to mimic the Maidan protests in Kyiv that ousted the pro-Moscow leader of Ukraine. However, the 18-month sentence was lifted due to the statute of limitations.

cw/kms (AFP, AP)

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