Pussy Riot convicted of hooliganism

The three members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred on Friday The court sentenced them to two years in prison. At the same time, outside the Khamovnichesky district court many protesters, both for and against Pussy Riot, had gathered. Some of the protesters were singled out by the Police and arrested, according to several media reports.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Aliokhina, all participated in the Russian punk group Pussy Riot’s political protest, which took place in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral on February 26, 2012. They have been held in custody since March and on Friday 17 August the verdict was handed down – guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and convicted to two years in prison.

The three women deny that their performance, an about 40 seconds long “punk prayer”, was intended to insult Christians. Their action was a protest against Vladimir Putin (who was reinstalled as president in May 2012) and his endorsement by Patriarch Kirill, who had publicly claimed that Orthodox Christians must vote for Putin in the coming Presidential election in March.

Yekaterina Samutsevich has previously said, in a statement to the court, that the case against them is about political censorship by the authorities.

Civil Rights Defenders consider this case as one of the latest examples of how the right to freedom of expression is under threat in Russia. Since the reinstallment of President Putin a wave of repressive measures has sweeped over the country.

These articles describes the attempts, made by the authorites, in order to try and silence civil society in Russia:

Human rights defender Stanislav Dmitrievsky arrested during a protest | 27 July 2012 augusti 17

Critical NGOs branded as “foreign agents”| 23 July 2012

Clampdown on civil society | 14 July 2012

Pride permission revoked – activists arrested | 9 July 2012

Propaganda laws strangles gay activism | 25 May 2012

Categories: News.
Tags: Freedom of expression, Pussy Riot, and Vladimir Putin.
Regions: Russia.