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Arts Community Calls for the Release of Pussy Riot Protesters

Arts Community Calls for the Release of Pussy Riot Protesters

 

In early March, six band members from the punk band Pussy Riot were arrested. They were accused of perpetrating hate crimes and disturbing public order after they broke into a Moscow cathedral named Christ the Saviour, the Guardian Reports.

Once inside, the 10-piece band, wearing colorful balaclavas and skirts, performed a song which criticized the Russian Orthodox Church for aligning so closely to Vladimir Putin and said a prayer to Mother Mary to release Russia from the control of Putin. A Youtube video shows part of the protest spliced with a recording of their song. The video also shows the band members being escorted out of the cathedral.

The February protest was just a few weeks before Vladimir Putin was reelected to the presidential seat. The women were arrested a day after his return to power in March.

Three of the musicians, all young students, have remained in custody since their arrest in connection with this incident. Two of the women have small children at home. Initially, the women started a hunger strike to demand they be released. Amnesty International also called for their immediate release in early April, the Guardian reports.

Despite these attempts at standing against Russian authorities, church and judicial officials have not relented. Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church has claimed that the Pussy Riot protests are the work of the devil. Authorities claim the women were disrupting order with their performance in late February.

Critics of the arrests have pointed out that the actions of these women should be protected by the rights of freedom of expression. The protest these women staged was also implemented several months before President Putin approved of a new law which fines demonstrators sky high prices and jail time for participating in any unsanctioned marches and gatherings.

Now more than 100 cultural Russian icons have also joined in the calls to release the three remaining detainees of the Pussy Riot band. The Moscow Times reports that icons ranging from actors to filmmakers to singers signed the letter which stated:

We do not believe that the actions of Pussy Riot constitute a criminal offense…The girls did not kill anyone, they did not rob, did not commit violence, did not destroy or steal anyone’s property…We see no legal basis or practical reason for the further isolation of these young women, who do not pose any real danger from society.

The letter was published this Wednesday in Moskovsky Komsomolets. All three women could face up to seven years in prison for “hooliganism.” The Moscow Times reports that their trial date has been pushed back again to the tail end of July. The judge believed the women could destroy evidence if they were released on bail until their trial date, which means the three women will continue to be detained for some time to come.

 

Related Stories:

Putin Plans to Cripple Protests with New Bloated Fines

Russians March in Thousands Against Putin

Unrest Marks Victory Day Celebrations in Russia

 

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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35 comments

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6:35AM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

let them out, now! so unjust

9:16PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

I respect them for this, they got their point across well enough that I heard about it in the USA.

6:41PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

OK

3:12PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

Russia ? Hey, the same thing happens in America. Except we imprison a LOT more people esp with mandatory sentencing laws which are lobbied for by the, guesses ? PRISON INDUSTRY !

2:29PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

thanks

2:18PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

I know that at least one of them is also a vegan! And they don't give any vegan food there of course(only tea and bread), the condition in the jail is extremely awful too - it was written in the members' letters.

12:10PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

Performing music in a chruch, they sure sound like hardened criminals to me. ~_~ They didn't destoy any properity or insult anyone in the Chruch, they sure as hell don't deserve years of prision in *Russia.*

11:51AM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

where is the petition? I didn't care for the music, but had this been MY church, the following sunday I would have given a sermon acknowledging what the women were trying to say. However, with a man dominated church...or any stick up the ass conservative church, that wouldn't happen.
Jesus overturned the tables in the temple, did he not?
Once there was a "fundamentalist christian" heckler in church, and our pastor handled him promptly, with reserve ,dignity and she went on with the talk, ....and he took his hatred elsewhere out the door.

11:42AM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

While I don't think that they made a good choice in breaking into a church, this is a harsh sentence for a valid protest. Putin is a menace to his citizens..... and crazy.

11:40AM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

This is so awful.. Art is the voice of our times... I hope and pray that these woman will receive worldwide support and they will be released soon! Performance Art should'nt be so dangerous..!!!

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