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Pussy Riot Sentenced To Two Years in Prison Colony

Pussy Riot Sentenced To Two Years in Prison Colony

Their wrists in handcuffs, Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot members Maria AlyokhinaYekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova smiled and laughed during the reading of the verdict in their trial on charges of “hooliganism” motivated by religious hatred today in a Moscow courtroom (where the temperature was around 103 F). Judge Marina Syrova sentenced the three women to two years in prison to begin from the time of their arrest.

The verdict, as is typical in Russian trials, was three hours long. The Guardian offers some highlights:

The offence was performed by way of an action driven by the will of the culprits to show their disrespect of the others. It was identified that on Feb 21 2012, Tolokonnikova, Samutsevich and Alekhina unlawfully entered a sealed part of the Christ the Saviour Cathedral reserved for a religious ceremonies and hoist themselves in front of the altar which is reserved specifically for clergy members occupied the cathedral,and [started] reading prayers and other religious texts and inserted dancing and chanting which were insulting for religious believers.

As they danced they swung they hands and imitated punching unseen enemies…

(You can view the video of Pussy Riot’s “punk prayer” to compare with the above description.)

In particular, the judge singled out feminism as creating religious hatred: “The court does find a religious hatred motive in the actions of the defendants by way of them being feminists who consider men and women to be equal.”

Alyokhina, Samutsevich, Tolokonnikova and other members of Pussy Riot performed an obscenity-laced “punk prayer” to the Virgin Mary criticizing President Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral on February 21. They have won support around the world from the likes of Paul McCartney and Madonna and human rights groups including Amnesty International, in the name of freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. Wrote Tolokonnikova in a letter to supporters on Thursday:

“I have no private spite, but I have political spite. Our being in jail is a clear and distinct sign that freedom is being taken away from the whole country … And this threat of destruction of the liberating, emancipatory forces of Russia is what makes me angry.”

In the Ukraine, four feminist activists, one topless, used a chain saw to cut down a wooden cross in the central square of Kiev. In the US and throughout Europe, supporters are planning protests in front of Russian embassies. The US embassy in Russia has issued a statement saying that the sentence is “disproportionate.”

Supporters gathered outside the courtroom in Moscow before the verdict was to be read. Opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov was detained and former world chess champion Gary Kasparov has been arrested and possibly beaten by police. At least 80 supporters have been arrested and dragged away by police, so far.

The verdict also clearly reveals the collusion between the Church and State in Russia. British MP Chris Bryant tweeted: “ sentences show the twin dead hands of the Russian Orthodox church and Vladimir Putin are taking Russia back a century.”

Padraig Reidy, News Editor of Index on Censorship, put it simply in the UK magazine the New Statesman:  ”Today’s guilty verdict in the Pussy Riot case has confirmed Vladimir Putin not as the sucessor to Stalin, but sucessor to the tsars.”

Or as Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, said on leaving the court: “Whatever Putin wants, Putin gets. That is the only thing to say.”

Related Care2 Coverage

We Are All Pussy Riot! (Video)

Reykjavik Mayor’s Gay Pride Tribute to Pussy Riot (VIDEO)

Pussy Riot Fears For Fate of Their Young Children

 

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Photo by Grüne Bundestagsfraktion

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84 comments

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3:15PM PDT on Jun 1, 2013

Thank you Igor for posting and keepying the cheer up on this thread!

6:53AM PDT on Jun 1, 2013

Pussy
Pussy
We love
We love
We love
We love that
Pussy

1:32PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

To those people that feel that Pussy Riot were being offensive, surely you must agrre that watever their crime, they should not be denied food and sleep?

1:25PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

Reposted Part 5
Since this passage was motivated by the threat posed by maintaining a large standing army, it was obvious that it sanctioned the use of arms by the populace collectively in the form of a militia. Since the USA now has a standing army, navy and air force, I fail to see how this passage can be interpreted as granting every individual the right to own any weapon of his or her choice, irrespective of its destructive capacity But since a civil society has never truly been an accepted ideal among all Americans, we must expect such mass shootings and bombings to continue, much as in Pakistan where Islamic terrorists murder thousands of their compatriots every year in order to make some obscure point or merely to destabilize their government.

1:24PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

Reposted Part 4
This is only to be accepted from a weak and vacillating President who has now changed his mind over Guntanamo and accepts not only indefinite detention for life without trial (essentially a return to pre-revolutionary conditions in France under the monarchy) but also considers it acceptable to send pilotless aircraft around the world to attack and kill people who are said to be terrorists in Afghanistan, without any proof that they pose any threat to the lives of Americans?


The methods used by authoritarian governments against non-citizens abroad are sooner or later used against its own citizens at home, and home is where the real terrorist threat lies or has the Oklahoma City bombing faded from their minds? This was essentially the work of one man, but, as we all know, there are a good many armed right-winged militia out there, who represent a far greater threat, but their right to bear arms must not be curtailed, on account of a fundamental and deliberate misuse of the passage “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.

1:24PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

Reposted Part 3
It is no better in Sweden, where each court has the freedom to decide which evidence it shall accept and how it interprets it, which has led to convictions of sexual abuse and other serious crimes being decided without a shred of physical or forensic evidence, which may also explain Assange's reluctance to be tried there.

As for the much vaunted Constitution of the USA, it has historically often been disregard completely. It applies only to US citizens, so illegal aliens in the USA can be kept in jail for life for minor, non-violent crimes. Native Americans were not granted citizenship until 1924 but (according to Wikipedia) may not have enjoyed full rights until 1948. Women and slaves were not envisaged as being included in the provisions of the Constitution and both did not enjoy full citizenship (including voting rights) until comparatively recently. The ability of the states to disregard the constitution and to enforce discriminatory legislation has not been subject to effective Federal control and so African-Americans had to endure an unconstitutional system of segregation for almost a century. We should also not forget the treatment of the Japanese American community in WW2, whose constitutional and property rights were completely disregarded. After 9/11, it became necessary to destroy the Constitution in order to defend and protect it from its enemies, as the US Military Oath runs. But how can they fulfill their sown duty, when they are the ones wh

1:22PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

Reposted Part 1 due to software screwups
In the old days of the USSR, it was a crime not to be gainfully employed and those who found themselves in that position, often as a result of expressing dissent or attempting to demonstrate, citing rights conferred on all citizens by that country's wonderful constitution, were not infrequently imprisoned for their “hooliganism”. Russia is very much, but not exclusively, a case of 'old wine in new bottles." However, before we become too swollen-headed about how much better the UK and USA are in terms of rights and freedoms, we need to take a long and hard look at how things are today. I no longer recognise the UK, where I was born in 1948, as the place where I grew up. It has become a soulless, materialistic place, ruled since the era of M. Thatcher as an increasing authoritarian and militarized state, with government elected on a minority of the popular vote (like the indirect presidential electoral system in the USA). Anybody who is arrested by the police is now take to a detention center and held in a cell until such time until they can be interrogated. They are also photographed, fingerprinted and forced to give a DNA sample, irrespective of the severity of the alleged offense.

1:17PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

Reposted Part 2
Magistrate courts have not changed in hundreds of years and still do not keep a written transcript of their proceedings. Instead the written statements of witnesses and/or victims are disregarded totally and cannot be presented as evidence by the defendant to the court, nor may the court see such statements, on the basis of which the defendant was arrested and charged. Unless you are very poor, you will either have to spend 2,000 pounds on hiring a lawyer or defend yourself, but no help or guidance is provided by the State. Magistrates courts are notorious for their very high conviction rate, often securely by finding defendants guilty solely on witness testimony, and very rarely believe that the police are ever in the wrong. The appeals procedure is not a review by a higher court, but a re-trial there, where the defendant may face a second and harsher punishment for the same crime, since double jeopardy rules in England and Wales have been altered. The police for their part work very closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and have no interest in any evidence that might prove the defendant's innocence. Police officers sometimes lie and coerce witnesses into making false statements. The changes brought about by New Labour neocon government have engendered a culture in which everyone is guilty and consequently the presumption of innocence is a dead letter.

1:11PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

Reposting in 4 parts due to the software problems with previous posting

Part 1
In the old days of the USSR, it was a crime not to be gainfully employed and those who found themselves in that position, often as a result of expressing dissent or attempting to demonstrate, citing rights conferred on all citizens by that country's wonderful constitution, were not infrequently imprisoned for their “hooliganism”. Russia is very much, but not exclusively, a case of 'old wine in new bottles." However, before we become too swollen-headed about how much better the UK and USA are in terms of rights and freedoms, we need to take a long and hard look at how things are today. I no longer recognise the UK, where I was born in 1948, as the place where I grew up. It has become a soulless, materialistic place, ruled since the era of M. Thatcher as an increasing authoritarian and militarized state, with government elected on a minority of the popular vote (which also applies to the indirect presidential election system in the USA). Anybody who is arrested by the police is now take to a detention center and held in a cell until such time until they can be interrogated. They are also photographed, fingerprinted and forced to give a DNA sample. All this, irrespective of the crime for which they were arrested.

4:22AM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

As for the much vaunted Constitution of the USA, it has historically often been disregard completely. It applies only to US citizens, so illegal aliens in the USA can be kept in jail for life for minor, non-violent crimes. Native Americans were not granted citizenship until 1924 but (according to Wikipedia) may not have enjoyed full rights until 1948. Women and slaves were not envisaged as being included in the provisions of the Constitution and both did not enjoy full citizenship (including voting rights) until comparatively recently. The ability of the states to disregard the constitution and to enforce discriminatory legislation has not been subject to effective Federal control and so African-Americans had to endure an unconstitutional system of segregation for almost a century. We should also not forget the treatment of the Japanese American community in WW2, whose constitutional and property rights were completely disregarded. After 9/11, it became necessary to destroy the Constitution in order to defend and protect it from its enemies, as the US Military Oath runs. But how can they fulfill their sown duty, when they are the ones who now have powers under the NDAA to arrest and imprison US citizens and hold them indefinitely as suspected terrorists, in violation of "due process". This is only to be accepted from a weak and vacillating President who has now changed his mind over Guntanamo and accepts not only indefinite detention for life without trial (essential a retur

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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