Arrests in Thailand: Putin-critical rock band fears…

All seven members have previously criticized the war in Ukraine. In Russia they face severe punishment.

Members of a Russian rock band have been threatened with deportation from Thailand for their continued criticism of the war in Ukraine. Seven band members were arrested on January 24 for unauthorized work on the holiday island of Phuket. Several officials told Reuters news agency on Monday. This usually leads to deportation to their home country – but the option remains open.

Human rights activists fear long-exiled rock band Bi-2 could face harsher punishment in Russia. The group is known for condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Lead singer Igor Bordnik has been branded a “foreign agent” by Russian authorities after criticizing President Vladimir Putin online.

Sunai Pasuk of the human rights group Human Rights Watch fears that the band members “could face serious prosecution and other serious risks” if they were returned to Russia because of their disaffected status. “This case is a litmus test for adherence to basic human rights principles in Thailand,” he said.

Israeli and Australian citizens

Reuters news agency also cited other officials who wished to remain anonymous. Accordingly, band members can also choose an alternative location if they refuse to be extradited to Russia for security reasons. Band members with dual citizenship will also have the option to choose another country for deportation.

Some band members hold Israeli or Australian citizenship in addition to Russian. Bi-2 was based in both countries before moving to Russia in 1999. Bi-2 management, the Israeli embassy in Bangkok and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade were not immediately available for comment. (Reuters)

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