Russia: Pussy Riot members’ appeal accepted by Supreme Court

Russia’s Supreme Court has accepted the appeal by two imprisoned members of the punk band Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, and ordered a review of prison terms for the two, saying that the lower court ignored mitigating factors.


The ruling on 10 December 2013 came three months before Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are to be released from prison. The two were convicted in 2012 of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred after an anti-government musical protest in Moscow’s main cathedral.

The Supreme Court said prosecutors proved the women were motivated by religious hatred and enmity but never established the band acted out of hatred toward a social group. The high court also said the Moscow court ignored the women’s age, that they have young children and the non-violent nature of the crime.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina may be eligible for release under a proposed government amnesty currently under consideration by the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament.

Freemuse has campaigned for the release of the Pussy Riot members since their arrest in 2012.

Photos: Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova at the Moscow Tagansky District Court in June 2012. Photographed by Denis Bochkarev licenced under Wikimedia Commons.