Evgenia Berkovich, a theatre director, and Svetlana Petriychuk, a script writer, are the laureates of this year’s Anna Politkovskaya Kamerton award, Novaya Gazeta revealed on Friday. Both women are currently in a pretrial facility, accused of “justifying terrorism”.
Berkovich’s husband Nikolay Matveev and Marietta Tsygal-Polishchuk, an actress, received the prize instead of the jailed women.
Novaya Gazeta has noted it was the first time the prize was awarded to non-journalists. Elena Milashina, a journalist with Novaya Gazeta, handed the prize.
Elena Milashina and Alexander Nemov, a lawyer, were brutally attacked in July when they arrived in Chechnya’s Grozny to cover the trial over Zarema Musayeva. They were beaten up by a group of young local men and were threatened with murder should they ever return to Chechnya.
The Kamerton Award was established in 2013. It is awarded for outstanding achievements in the field of human rights, for courage and consistency in upholding the principles of freedom of speech, for honesty, dignity, civic responsibility, and human compassion.
Petriychuk and Berkovich have been in jail for four months so far, suspected of “justifying terrorism”. The case was initiated after Berkovich had staged a play, written by Petriychuk, that is “dedicated to women who decide to marry radical Islamists online and move to Syria to live together." Petriychuk and Berkovich pleaded not guilty during interrogation.