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Iamthemorning pianist Gleb Kolyadin and band members from the popular Russian rock band Bi-2 (with whom he performs as a session musician) have been released from jail in Thailand, where they were facing deportation to Russia and could have faced persecution for anti-war sentiments
In a social media post, Kolyadin's Iamthemorning colleague Marjana Semkina announced: "Guys!!! They got out!!! Safely on a plane to Israel. Can’t wait to have him back in the UK. We’re still a little worried about potential issues at the Israeli border but surely everything should be fine after the story for so crazy big in international news. I also know that UK authorities were on site yesterday.
"Thank you all SO MUCH for your help, posts, emails, sharing the petition and just moral support. I for one really needed it."
The news comes hours after Russian politician Andrei Lugovoy, a member of the lower house of Russia’s parliament, called the band members "scum" for their criticism of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine. Lugovoy is currently wanted by British police on suspicion of the murder of the prominent Vladimir Putin critic Alexander Litvinenko.
"Let the guys get ready: soon they will be playing and singing on spoons and on metal plates, tap dancing in front of their cellmates,” Lugovoy boasted on the Telegram messaging app. “Personally, I would be very happy to see this."
News of the musician's plight was widely reported yesterday by outlets such as The Guardian and Sky News, with Elaine Pearson, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, saying "Under no circumstances should they be deported to Russia, where they could face arrest or worse for their outspoken criticisms of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s war in Ukraine."