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Pussy Riot Issue Update on Jailed Members Arrested During World Cup Field Protest

World Cup Pussy Riot
AP Photo/Martin Meissner

Stewards pull a woman off the pitch after she stormed onto the field and interrupted the final match between France and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia.

The band says they have not been allowed to see their lawyer and officials didn't tell them about a court appearance.

After their action to disrupt the World Cup soccer finale on Sunday (July 15) landed four members of the Russian feminist punk collective Pussy Riot behind bars, the group issued a communique updating the status of the "Football Field Action" on Monday morning (July 16).

According to a Facebook post (details of which have confirmed for Billboard by a group spokesperson), the four Pussy Riot members spent the night at a police station where they reportedly were not allowed to sleep, eat or take a shower, after which they were taken to court for a hearing, which the other members could not attend because they were not told where or when it would take place.

Additionally, the group claims that their lawyer has not been allowed to see the detained activists, who are each reportedly facing two misdemeanor charges that carry sentences of up to 15 days of detention. The group also posted a video explaining the action with footage of the field intrusion.

The interruption came at the 52nd minute of the game, when three women and one man ran onto the field dressed in police uniforms as part of their "Policeman enters the Game" action, briefly stopping play when France was leading Croatia 2-1. In a post explaining the intrusion, the group said it was a protest against Russian police actions, including "illegal arrests on rallies" and "fabricating criminal accusations" to keep people detained for "no reason." Among the demands are that Russian officials free all political prisoners, not imprison people for "likes," allow "political competition" and "not fabricate criminal accusations and not keep people in jails for no reasons."

The collective, whose members often obscure their faces with brightly colored balaclavas, reported in February that two members briefly "disappeared" in Crimea after being detained by Russian security. Comprised of up to eleven participants at times, Pussy Riot rose to prominence in 2011 with their daring outdoor performances that criticized President Vladimir Putin and Russia's ruling elite. An impromptu "punk prayer" at Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior that derided the ties between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Kremlin got them into trouble in 2012. Three band members were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" for the stunt, with two spending nearly two years in prison following the incident.

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