A Russian court on Friday jailed a political activist for 15 days for re-enacting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ near the headquarters of the security service in central Moscow.
On Thursday night fellow activists attached a half-naked Pavel Krisevich to a cross and put him on a stool in front of the headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB), successor to the Soviet-era KGB.
They lit a fire on the pavement in front of him and threw in the blaze what they said were criminal case materials in a performance symbolising pressure on political activists, according to a video of the performance uploaded online.
"The number of political prisoners is growing every year in Russia," the activist's lawyer, Sergei Telnov, told AFP, explaining the performance.
Krisevich was detained Thursday evening and spent the night in detention.
On Friday, Moscow's Tverskoi district court jailed him for 15 days for resisting police, a court spokeswoman, Olga Bondareva, told AFP.
Telnov, the activist's lawyer, denied that he had resisted police.
The FSB building, which takes up an entire block, was used by the Soviet-era secret police for interrogations, detaining opponents and extra-judicial killings.
In 2015, controversial performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky set fire to the wooden doors of the FSB building.
Pavlensky had faced three years in jail on charges of damaging a cultural site but was released in June 2016 with a hefty fine.
Russian artists who carry out political stunts usually face up to 15 days in police cells for petty hooliganism. Depending on how their actions are interpreted they can face much stiffer sentences.
In 2012, two members of Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in a penal colony for hooliganism after their performance in a cathedral protesting against the close ties between the Russian Orthodox church and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
© 2020 AFP