Russia: Prosecutor seeks three years sentence for members of Pussy Riot

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Russia:
Prosecutor seeks three years sentence
for members of Pussy Riot

On the seventh day of the legal proceedings in Moscow, the prosecutor called for a three year prison sentence for Pussy Riot band members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich.

The three women, detained since March 2012 for staging a music happening in a Moscow church, are accused of hooliganism with a religious hate motive. As the prosecutor made known to the public its desire to have the three women locked up for three years, the international pressure, support and solidarity action continues to grow.

Harsh prosecutor – international solidarity 
As the case against the three women continues, the international pressure on the Russian authorities is growing. High-level foreign politicians, MPs, international human rights experts have expressed their concerns that the three women will neither receive a fair trial nor a reasonable sentence.
All over the world, international petitions calling for a fair and free trial, decent treatment of the three detained women 

Change.org petition letter:
“The women are imprisoned not for a real crime but for being critical of Putin. I object classifying the performance of the Pussy Riot band in the Temple of Christ the Savior on 21 February 2012 as a criminal act because it does not contain component elements of a crime. Second, it is unacceptable to equate a conflict with Russian Orthodox Church policy to a criminal offence because the Constitution of the Russian Federation separates the Church from the State.”

Read the full letter here

Similar solidarity actions can be found on  the World Council of Churches — that have also set up an online petition for their release:

To the World Council of Churches:
“Dear members of the World Council of Churches,”We urge you to support three young women Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Mariya Alekhina, and Ekatrina Samutzevitch, who, in violation of Russian law, have been kept in custody in Moscow for nearly four months now. They are facing seven years in prison for allegedly fomenting religious enmity. Their actions, however, have not been qualified as criminal offense either by independent experts, or by numerous believers who support the women…”
Read the full letter here

Causes.com petition to President Vladimir Putin
(more than 10,000 signatories)
“Today we are taking a stand as the international community against the outright attack on human rights and free speech underway in a Russian courtroom. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich – the three young female musicians who formed the punk rock band Pussy Riot – face up to seven years in prison for a peaceful anti-Putin protest that the all-girl group staged in Moscow’s main Orthodox church last February.”
Read the full letter here

Growing solidarity from musicians
American pop singer Madonna has also joined the line of musicians showing solidarity with Pussy Riot: 

“I am against censorship and throughout my whole career I’ve always promoted freedom of expression, freedom of speech. So obviously, I think that what happened to them [Pussy Riot] is unfair!”

She urged Russia not to jail the women:

“I hope they do not have to serve seven years in jail. That would be a tragedy,” she said. “I think art should be political. Historically speaking, art always reflects what’s going on socially. So for me, it’s hard to separate the idea of being an artist and being political.”

On 25 July 2012 world-renowned musician Sting announced that he joined international pressure groups’ efforts in condemning the Russian authorities’ treatment of Pussy Riot. Sting, who was on tour and performing in Moscow on 25 July and in St. Petersburg on 27 July, commented:

“It’s appalling that the musicians from Pussy Riot could face prison sentences of up to seven years in jail. Dissent is a legitimate and essential right in any democracy and modern politicians must accept this fact with tolerance. A sense of proportion – and a sense of humor – is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. Surely the Russian authorities will completely drop these spurious charges and allow the women, these artists, to get back to their lives and to their children.”

Background: About Pussy Riot’s case in brief
Three members of Pussy Riot – a feminist protest punk group have staged a series of political happenings in Moscow – were detained in March 2012 after they had disrupted a service in a church in Moscow and staged a ‘punk prayer’ calling for the Holy Virgin Mary to please ‘throw out Putin’.

The three imprisoned women, all in their 20s, have been refused bail, and in July the local court extended their detention until January 2013. They are accused of hooliganism with a religious hate motive and risk a maximum of seven years in prison if convicted.


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  Pussy Riot’s
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Click to read: Freemuse calls for free and fair trial for Pussy Riot
 
 
 
 
 

Sources

Russian Legal Information Centre (RAPSI) – 7 August 2012:

‘Prosecution seeks three-year prison sentences for Pussy Riot members’

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