START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
926,659 people care about Women's Rights

Pussy Riot Protesters Plead Not Guilty

Pussy Riot Protesters Plead Not Guilty

 

Three women in the punk protest group Pussy Riot officially pleaded not guilty to charges of hooliganism in a Russian court on Monday. The women have been in custody for the last five months waiting for a trial and were informed a number of days ago that they would be held in custody well into 2013.

The women were originally arrested after a February 21 demonstration at a central Moscow cathedral in which they performed a chant to the Virgin Mary to deliver Russia from Vladimir Putin. He won the elections just a couple weeks later and the women were quickly arrested for their performance.

Although the justice system has retained a tight grip on the three women who have been charged with hooliganism, the women have continued to represent some of the larger civil rights issues lurking in the Russian landscape, drawing international criticism of Vladimir Putin and his harsh no-tolerance stance on demonstrations and freedom of expression.

The Russian arts community petitioned the government early in July for the release of the women. International musicians and performers, such as Sting and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, have also come forward with concerns about the trial and the vengeful prosecution of the women.

While many Russian Orthodox Church members felt the performance was a desecration of religion, it also appears that many churchgoers feel the punishment meted out to the women is excessive, a Guardian editorial points out. While the women did go on religious grounds, they did not vandalize property or commit any violent crimes. They also left quite quickly once security arrived on the scene.

The women have expressed regret at upsetting believers but also maintain that the punk group is trying to foment change in a country that has recently seen tight legislation passed for internet censorship, the almost complete obliteration of the right to demonstrate and more surveillance of NGOs.

In an interview for the Observer one of the anonymous members of Pussy Riot, who uses the name “Squirrel” talks about why the punk group is important and what the women hope to accomplish:

Pussy Riot is about women, feminists, and it means that women are fed up with the sexist regime, with the situation, with the political system, and with religion at the same time.

When I put on my mask, I do feel like a person who can do everything. Of course I am the same person but this is another part of me, which have more courage, which has strong feeling that what she’s doing is right and she has enough power to change something.

The members of Pussy Riot who have been speaking to reporters remain carefully anonymous, wearing their bright balaclava masks so that Russian authorities can’t arrest them in addition to the three women being held in custody.




The three women that were arrested represent only a small portion of the members of Pussy Riot but they have become international symbols of the lack of civil and women’s rights in Russia. The defense team in charge of the case has expressed serious concerns that Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church are working to skew the outcome of the case in order to prove their political clout.

The Telegraph quotes defense lawyer Nikolai Polozov who said, “They went on to Putin’s sacred ground and he’s a vengeful person. I’m sure he gave the signal for this prosecution.”

The trial will continue for some time and the women will remain in custody without access to their families.

 

Related Stories:

Arts Community Calls for Release of Pussy Riot Protesters

Pussy Riot Jailed For Six More Months

Return of the Cold War? Russia Pushes New NGO Law

 

Read more: , , , , , , , , , ,

Photo Credit: Dipsey

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

23 comments

+ add your own
12:39AM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

These are very brave women. The Russian jails are horrid and their treatment by the male guards must be terrifying. I applaud and support them.

I notice too that the Russian Artists Community is showing support. We should all be inspired by this community. They are a group who for centuries have had to fight censorship and yet they still create some of the most magnificent masterpieces and stand for rights and freedom. I support them and I hope their efforts will be very soon rewarded.

6:57PM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

The world is siding with the band members and not Vladimir Putin. In fact it looks to this observer like he is getting his ass kicked by a group of pussies. You go girls!

4:25PM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

Thanks

12:03PM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

How do I join? Signed the petition.

10:20AM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

thank you for the article

10:07AM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

Women do most of the real work in Russia yet still have no rights to speak of. However we must remember that Russia was one of the last western cultures to come out of the dark ages and is still lagging a bit.

9:36AM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

Let them all go..

9:13AM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

For the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church to side with Putin in this way is scurrilous. When they showed on television, a while back, their easy association with him was shocking - do they not recognise that under his KGB rule of East Berlin/E Germany much suffering will have emanated from his powers.

As religious leaders they need to stand by Human Rights not side with a dyed in the wool communist whatever is glibly said. Forgive but don't forget to the point of stupidity ... or is it higher Office the religious are after?

9:09AM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

I had heard about this story a while ago, but now it really seems to be picking up steam and is being widely covered by the world media.

8:48AM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

Free Pussy Riot!!!! Free free speech!!! Free them all!!!! Free Pussy free for all!!!!

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

humans alone are the biggest contributor to greenhouse emissions. 300 years ago bison, elk, antelope…

the revolution is really great. http://techjobs.sulekha.com/sap-fico-training

Very cute. I wish my 3 cats would rock me to sleep sometimes. But I guess I shouldn't be too picky,…

meet our writers

Kathleen J. Kathleen is currently the Activism Coordinator at Care2. more
ads keep care2 free



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.