11 July 2024

The Russian-sanctioned rock band Bi-2, which includes four Israeli citizens was arrested in Phuket last Thursday for performing without appropriate permits, Israeli media reported. The members of the band were all fined, had their passports confiscated, and were taken to a detention center.

There is a possibility that the band could be deported to Russia, where they face imprisonment over their opposition to the war on Ukraine.

Among the seven band members arrested are Yegor Burtnik and Alexander Uman, Israeli citizens. The band allegedly has two other Israeli citizens, but reports haven’t confirmed these members’ identities. The band has a history of legal trouble with the Russian Government, according the Jerusalem Post.

The band has a history of trouble for speaking out against the Russian government, including cancellation of shows, and Burtnik has even been listed as a “foreign agent” by the Russian Justice Ministry.

Even more alarming, neither Yegor nor Alexander have Russian citizenship, which would make an arrest very complicated for the Israeli foreign ministry to navigate. According to news reports, the decision to deport the band or not will be made today.