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Court frees acclaimed Russian director from house arrest

By The News · 11 of April 2019 04:29:48
AP Photo, Kirill Serebrennikov, No available, Russian theatre and film director Kirill Serebrennikov speaks to the media after a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, Monday, April 8, 2019. Moscow City Court released Serebrennikov from the house arrest on his own recognizance. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

MOSCOW (AP) — A court in Moscow has ordered the release of an acclaimed Russian theater and film director from house arrest, a major development in the case that has drawn international attention.

The Moscow City Court on Monday overturned a district court’s decision to extend house arrest for Kirill Serebrennikov, and ordered him freed on his own recognizance until his trial.

Serebrennikov has detained since August 2017 on charges of embezzling 133 million rubles (about $2 million) of state funding for a theater project. He has denied any wrongdoing, and many in Russia saw the charges as punishment for his anti-establishment views.

Serebrennikov’s productions ranging from drama to opera and movies have been criticized by conservative circles, and his arrest has raised fears of a return to Soviet-style censorship.