Friday, 21 July 2017

Czechs issue arrest warrant for Russian artist Vorotnikov

ČTK |
11 May 2017

Prague, May 10 (CTK) - The Prague State Attorney's Office has issued an arrest warrant for Russian street-artist and dissident Oleg Vorotnikov because he violated the commitments he made in court for not being taken into custody last year, the server Aktualne.cz said today.

Russia issued an international warrant for the arrest of Vorotnikov over some of the activities of the Voina art group of which he is a member and asked for his extradition last autumn.

The Russian prosecutor's office issued an arrest warrant for Vorotnikov on charges of hooliganism, offence of state officials and attack on them. If convicted, he may be sentenced to five to ten years in prison.

Vorotnikov then came to Prague along with his wife and three children.

"The state attorney has issued a command to detain him because he has failed to come to a questioning three times and he was not accessible at the address where he pledged to be in court," Stepanka Zenklova, spokeswoman for the Prague State Attorney's Office, said.

The police are looking for Vorotnikov but his whereabouts are unknown, Aktualne.cz writes.

Karel Schwarzenberg, honorary chairman of TOP 09, provided shelter to Vorotnikov in Orlik nad Vltavou, south Bohemia, for a time.

He also offered the chateau Cimelice in south Bohemia for film-making purposes to Vorotnikov's family.

"Some time ago, they moved out and returned to Prague. I have not heard of him since," Schwarzenberg told the server.

The Voina (War) street-art group has become known mainly for its work A Dick Captured by the FSB. In June 2010, it painted a huge phallus on a drawbridge opposite the Sankt Petersburg headquarters of the Russian FSB secret service.

In November 2010, Vorotnikov and another member of Voina, Leonid Nikolayev, were detained over their overturning police cars on the pretext of looking for a lost golf ball.

Voina itself said on the Internet that an arrest warrant had been issued for Vorotnikov in the Czech Republic "for having refused to collaborate with a Czech state attorney's office."

It also published an e-mail from Vorotnikov's defence counsel Pavel Uhl who said he would be arrested at the next meeting with the police.

The decision on extradition abroad is made by the justice minister. He can only make it if a court allows it.

Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO) said previously that Vorotnikov is unlikely to be extradited to Russia.

The Prague Municipal Court did not take Vorotnikov into custody after he promised that he would neither avoid the extradition proceedings nor leave the Czech Republic.

Copyright 2015 by the Czech News Agency (ČTK). All rights reserved.
Copying, dissemination or other publication of this article or parts thereof without the prior written consent of ČTK is expressly forbidden. The Prague Daily Monitor is not responsible for its content.