Court frees acclaimed Russian director from house arrest

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An acclaimed Russian theater and film director was freed from house arrest Monday, a verdict that follows longtime calls for his release from prominent cultural figures worldwide.

The Moscow City Court overturned a district court’s decision to extend the house arrest for Kirill Serebrennikov, and ordered him freed on his own recognizance and requested that he not leave the Russian capital pending completion of his trial. Two of his associates were also freed from house arrest.

Serebrennikov has been under house arrest for nearly 20 months on charges of embezzling 133 million rubles (about $2 million) of state funding for a theater project. He has rejected the accusations as absurd, and many in Russia saw the charges as punishment for his anti-establishment views.

Speaking to reporters after the court’s verdict, Serebrennikov said he would push for his acquittal. “I would only be happy when this nightmare ends completely and we prove our innocence,” he said.

Serebrennikov added that he would quickly return to work at his Gogol Center theater. “It’s going to be difficult psychologically, but we have so much work to do,” he said.

Serebrennikov’s ballet about dancer Rudolf Nureyev premiered in Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater when he was already under house arrest, and his film “Leto” (Summer) about the country’s Soviet-era rock scene was shown at the Cannes Film Festival last year despite his absence.

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USCIS to Continue Implementing New Policy Memorandum on Notices to Appear

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is continuing to implement the June 28, 2018, Policy Memorandum (PM), Updated Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens (PDF, 140 KB).

USCIS may issue NTAs as described below based on denials of I-914/I-914A, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status; I-918/I-918A, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status; I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Violence Against Women Act self-petitions and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status petitions); I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petitions when the beneficiary is present in the US; I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant; and I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (with the underlying form types listed above).

If applicants, beneficiaries, or self-petitioners who are denied are no longer in a period of authorized stay and do not depart the United States, USCIS may issue an NTA. USCIS will continue to send denial letters for these applications and petitions to ensure adequate notice regarding period of authorized stay, checking travel compliance, or validating departure from the United States.