Freemuse calls for free and fair trial for Pussy Riot
Freemuse sends appeals to President Vladimir Putin, Kirill I of the Russian Orthodox Church, the public and district prosecutor and the district court, calling for a fair and free trial for the three band members of Pussy Riot.
At a closed hearing on 20 July 2012, the Khomovnichesky District Court extended until 12 January 2013 the detention of three members of the female punk band Pussy Riot who are prosecuted for having performed an anti-Putin song in a Moscow church.
The decision prompted immediate condemnation from their lawyers, opposition figures, human rights activists and supporters from all over the world.
On 20 July 2012, Judge Marina Syrova approved the prosecutors’ reuqest to keep the three band members — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 — in pre-trial detention until 12 January 2013, nine months after they were arrested.
Prosecutors had argued that the three women are ‘flight risks’ and could commit new crimes if released from detention. The band members’ defense lawyers immediately let the public know that they would appeal the ruling. The three women are accused of hooliganism with a religious hate motive and risk seven years in prison if convicted.
Appeal letter In an appeal letter sent to Russian authorities on 27 July 2012, Freemuse reminds the public prosecutor and the local courts to respect the international UN conventions that guarantee the right to freedom of expression and the accused’s right to a free and fair trial within a reasonable time period.
Live broadcast from the court room On 30 July 2012, the Khomovnichesky District Court opened the trial against the three female band members of Pussy Riot. The legal proceedings are transmitted live on the Khomovnichesky court’s website (in Russian language).
‘Repressive measures’ During the preliminary hearing on 20 July 2012, the court had initially rejected the request of the defence to call a total of 34 people to the court as witnesses. The list of witnesses also counted President Vladimir Putin and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriach Kirill I.
One of the three band members, Yekaterina Samutsevich, claims that the continued detention and trial against herself and her friends form part of a greater campaign staged by the authorities to reduce citizens’ political activity. In a statement read out by one the the group’s lawyers, Samutsevich said:
“I see it as the start of a campaign of authoritative repressive measures aimed at reducing citizens’ political activity and instilling the sense of fear among citizens actively involved in politics.”
The Freemuse Appeal Letter
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Two members of Pussy Riot
Support from Red Hot Chili Peppers As the case against the Russian feminist punk protest band Pussy Riot gains international attention, musicians and artists from all corners of the world have joined the long line of human rights activists’ protests against the continued persecution of three of the band members.
In mid-July 2012, Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of the world-famous American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, appeared in a shirt with a ‘Pussy Riot’ logo at two concerts in Russia. Together with the band’s legendary bass player ‘Flea’, the lead singer also wrote support letters to the imprisoned band members, which have since circulated on Twitter and other social medias.
Support from Franz Ferdinand The band Franz Ferdinand furthermore dedicated one of their songs, ‘This Fire’, to the imprisoned Russian punk band at a well-attended outdoor concert in Moscow.
“This song is dedicated to all of those musicians that end up in jail – for just saying what they think. This is for the girls in Pussy Riot”, lead singer of Franz Ferdinand shouted to an exited Russian audience.
See Franz Ferdinand’s statement in a video clip on youtube.com
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