A military court in Moscow has jailed a playwright and a director, both women, for six years for producing a play which the court earlier found was tantamount to “justifying terrorism”.

The play, Finist, the Brave Falcon, by Svetlana Petrichuk and directed Yevgenia Berkovich is loosely based on true events, telling the story of Russian women who travelled to Syria during the country’s civil war to marry members of the Islamic State group.

The BBC reports that the trial, held partly behind closed doors, heightened alarm about freedom of expression in Russia among members of the country’s artistic community.

In addition to being jailed, both women will be banned from “administering websites” for three years after their release.

According to Russian news agency RBC, the women, who have been in custody since May 2023, will now be sent to a penal colony to serve their sentences.

At the beginning of the trial in late May, Berkovich, 39, and Petrichuk, 44, said they had staged the play because they opposed terrorism.

Berkovich said the performance had been put on to “prevent terrorism”, adding she had “nothing but condemnation and disgust” for terrorists.

According to the BBC, supporters of Berkovich have suggested her prosecution was linked to a series of poems she wrote criticising Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine.

Russia’s artistic community has come under increasing pressure from the Kremlin since the invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Several high-profile Russian artists, writers and journalists have come out in support of the women, including newspaper editor Dmitry Muratov and actress Yulia Peresild.

[Image: https://thereklama.com/sayt-gde-sokhranyayutsya-spektakli/finist-the-brave-falcon-2/]