Russian Protest Group Pussy Riot Jailed for Six More Months

Three women from the Russian punk protest group will remain in jail for at least another six months, a judge ruled this week. The women will remain in custody until January 2013 as the trial continues, the Guardian reports. The women were originally imprisoned after their group staged a protest at Christ the Saviour Church in February. They performed an anti-Putin chant clad in bright balaclavas and skirts before security took them off of the premises.

Now the three women have come to represent larger civil and human rights issues in Russia, which has seen increasing censorship over the last few months since Vladimir Putin regained his seat as president. Last month, over 100 leaders in the arts community called for the release of the three women, two of whom have small children at home.

The Guardian notes that 50 percent of Muscovites think the women should be released and only 36 percent of those polled believed the trial should be pursued. Currently, the women face up to seven years in prison on charges of hooliganism. Earlier this month, rumors were afoot that the women would be released after they started a hunger strike to demand a fair trial.

Critics of the trial have condemned the Russian legal system and the Orthodox Church for being in league together to ensure that the women are condemned. Many citizens have remained critical of the trial because it has come to represent the larger legal and civil rights battles plaguing the country currently.

President Putin has successfully passed legislation against unsanctioned demonstrations, handing out hefty fines to anyone who dares to protest without prior official approval. The government has also passed laws that increased internet censorship as well as new legislation that will target NGOs and other non-profits as ‘foreign agents’ in order to control and mandate what groups actually accomplish within Russia.

One of the incarcerated Pussy Riot members, Maria Alyokhina, commented on the judicial process in the country, stating to the Moscow Times:

I believe that my continued arrest is punishment for exercising my constitutional right not to testify. The Tagansky Court is carrying out a political order. It doesn’t listen to us and always takes the prosecution’s side.

Most commentators fear that the women will almost certainly be imprisoned after the trial proceedings. The anti-Putin protest which has fomented so much unrest, and which was originally considered blasphemous by many, did not involve violence, vandalism, or lewd actions, but the women are still facing serious charges that many now feel are too severe.

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Flickr

31 comments

Stanley B.
Stanley Balgobin3 years ago

Only 2 years for pussy riot, 200 years in solitatry for Julioan Assange if the CIA caN GET THEIR HANDS ON HIM. tHIS IS ALSO FOR FREE EXPRESSION. Where's the world outcry against the U*K/USA Corporate military alliance for Military arms and weapons Industry. Julian will be severly punished for expression of free speech under the pretext of national security. Free Pussy Riot, Free Jul;ian Assange!!!

Valentina R.
Valentina R.3 years ago

Signed the petition. You can't bring Punk down! Riot girls forever!

Lena T.
Lena T.3 years ago

It's such a comfort to know that so many people follow the events and support the girls. This case is just the top of the iceberg. This is seriously outrageous. Putin's hypocrisy determines people's spirit. Watching the news on central channels makes me sick. Mother of Jesus, Putin banish!

zora b.
zora b.3 years ago

If that isn't a clear example of violation of human and women's rights, then I don't know what else it is. This is a reminder that Russia has a long way of struggle and efforts to their way to democracy. These girls should be freed as soon as possible.
This is just an example of powerful muscle flexing of President Putin.

Gerry Wall
Gerry Wall3 years ago

Jail for hooliganism ! Just can't understand the mentality of Putin or the Church.
If punishment should fit the crime these girls should be released immediately as they have committed no crime.

Jim N.
James N.3 years ago

Good Lord, Russia. The world is watching you.

Rin S.
Rin S.3 years ago

This is so sad that they might be facing so long in jail. Putin is a dickhead, period.

alex l.
alex l.3 years ago

it's interesting to note that when women violate gender norms - as here - and the law, they receive heavier sentences than men do. if they don't violate gender norms, they can get lighter sentences, but in cases like this, they will get the "how dare you behave this way young lady!" sentence. it's true of women who do anything that is illegal that is not in keeping with what society thinks is acceptable for women.
if a woman behaves aggressively, she is almost always charged, while men who do so - especially young men - are sometimes warned and let go.

Milkah Savage
Past Member 3 years ago

two steps forward five steps back

Donna B.
Donna B.3 years ago

This is so sad. Why? Putin really needs to go. Thx for the update.