Russia – Protest the two-year sentence given to Pussy Riot members

24 Aug

23 August 2012

Take action!

Supporters of Pussy Riot protest 17 August, 2012 verdict.
Supporters of Pussy Riot protest 17 August, 2012 verdict.

http://www.freepussyriot.org/

On 17 August 2012, three members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were found guilty of “hooliganism,” and were each sentenced to two years in jail after performing their “punk prayer” in a Moscow church, criticising the Russian Orthodox Church’s endorsement of President Putin. The three members, Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samusevch had been held in pre-trial detention since March 2012.

Take action now to protest the two year sentence given to Pussy Riot members!

Here are two things you can do:

1. Send this Amnesty International letter calling on the Russian authorities to immediately release the three women who were detained and sentenced solely for peacefully expressing their beliefs.

2. Send a personal message to President Putin urging him to respect freedom of expression and to immediately and unconditionally release Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. Be sure to copy the Russian ambassador in your own country. The list is on line here.

Pussy Riot is an anonymous Russian feminist performance art group formed in October 2011. Through a series of peaceful performances in highly visible places, the group has given voice to basic rights under threat in Russia today, expressing the values and principles of gender equality, democracy and freedom of expression contained in the Russian constitution and other international instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the CEDAW Convention.

Imprisoned members of the group Pussy Riot are:

  • Maria Alekhina, 24. Poet and Student at the Institute of Journalism and Creative writing. Mother of 5-year-old boy.
  • Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23. Visual Artist and 4th year Philosophy Student. Mother of 4-year-old girl.
  • Ekaterina Samutsevich, 29. Visual Artist, degree from The Alexander Rodchenko School of Photography and Multimedia, Moscow.

    On 21 February, four members of Pussy Riot entered the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, wearing brightly coloured outfits and balaclavas masking their faces. For a few minutes they danced in front of the altar, singing their “punk prayer” before being removed from the building.

    One week after the performance, an edited video of Pussy Riot performing, both in the church and elsewhere, appeared on Youtube, and a week after that the police were instructed to arrest the group’s known members.

    Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samutsevich were arrested and charged with “hooliganism” under Article 213 of the Russian Criminal Code, which carries a maximum seven-year jail term, although the prosecutor called for a three year sentence.

    The group says on their website, “The intention of the performance was to draw attention to the special relationship between President Putin and the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church.”

    Since March 4th, the women sat in pre-trial detention, refused bail due to what the authorities termed as “fear for the women’s safety.”

    PEN International published a translation of their “punk prayer” Punk Moleben and its context.

    For recent news, see:
    Prison sentences for Pussy Riot violate freedom of expression (ARTICLE 19)
    Freedom House condemns conviction of Pussy Riot in Russia (Freedom House)
    Pussy Riot and Russia’s surreal ‘justice’ (Human Rights Watch)

via IFEX

One Response to “Russia – Protest the two-year sentence given to Pussy Riot members”

  1. free|riot|points September 1, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

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