Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, issued the following statement today (8 April 2019) on the lifting of the house arrest of the director Kirill Serebrennikov:
I am delighted that the house arrest of the internationally renowned director Kirill Serebrennikov has finally been lifted after more than 18 months. This gives reason to hope that the criminal proceedings, which must be conducted in accordance with rule of law principles within the framework of an objective, quick and transparent process, will be ended swiftly.
It would be important for German-Russian cultural cooperation if Kirill Serebrennikov were able to travel again soon in order to honour his professional commitments in Germany.
Renowned international theatre and film director Kirill Serebrennikov had been under house arrest since being detained on 22 August 2017. The house arrest was extended on 2 April. Moscow city court granted the appeal against the extension on 8 April 2019. However, Serebrennikov is still subject to travel restrictions. He and his co-defendants are accused of embezzling 133 million roubles (approx. two million euros) of state funding. The penalty for such a crime is up to ten years’ imprisonment.
On several occasions since Serebrennikov’s arrest, the German Government had expressed its concerns about the nature of the charges as well as the repeated extensions of the house Arrest.