14:34 GMT14 June 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - French authorities extended the detention of Russian performance artist Petr Pavlensky and his girlfriend, Alexandra de Taddeo, after the former sparked a scandal that forced presidential ally Benjamin Griveaux out of the race for the Paris mayor's office, media reported on Monday.

    On Friday, Pavlesnky released the video, allegedly shared by Griveaux with a young woman, depicting the former candidate masturbating. Pavlensky and de Taddeo were detained the following day, and their initial detention term expired earlier on Monday. Griveaux, meanwhile, withdrew from the mayoral race.

    According to France's LCI broadcaster, the two will remain in custody at least until Tuesday morning, when their case will be passed to the court, which will then decide on whether to open a preliminary investigation. They could then be released with or without charges against them, or as associated witnesses.

    The scandal has provoked outrage among the country's political class. The disgraced candidate has called Pavlensky's actions a violation of privacy, while some French lawmakers have demanded that the artist's right to asylum be withdrawn.

    Pavlensky claimed he wanted to draw attention to Griveaux's hypocrisy for running as a candidate who supports family values while at the same time engages in salacious behavior.

    Under French law, the publication of sexual materials without the owner's consent is punishable by up to two years in prison and a large fine.

    Pavlensky, known for a number of controversial political performance acts in his native Russia, got political asylum in France in 2017.

    Pyotr Pavlensky, Paris, Russia
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