Pussy Riot says member has left Russia, despite ban

August 9, 2018

Russian activist of the feminist protest group Pussy Riot Maria Alekhina talks to a policeman as she holds a protest in front of the Federal Penitentiary building in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. Pussy Riot protest against torture in Russian prisons. (AP Photo/ Alexander Sofeev)

MOSCOW (AP) — The Pussy Riot punk collective says one of its members has departed for Britain, despite being banned from leaving Russia.

Maria Alekhina had said she was turned back by Russian border police Wednesday when she tried to leave the country for a performance at the Edinburgh Fringe festival based on her book.

But on Thursday, the group said on Twitter that she “has found a way to escape, and she is flying to Edinburgh right now!”

Russian authorities explained the ban move by claiming that Alekhina had failed to perform her community service. Alekhina was sentenced to 140 hours of community service for protests outside the Moscow headquarters of the Federal Security Service, the top KGB successor. In December, she unfurled a banner reading “Happy Birthday, Hangmen!” and in April she threw paper planes to protest the agency’s demand to shut the messaging service Telegram.

Alekhina and Pussy Riot bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova spent nearly two years in prison for a 2012 protest inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

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