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Amnesty calls on Russia to Free Pussy Riot

Posted by Tom Megginson | 24-05-2012 15:35 | Category: Human rights

Russian all-woman punk group Pussy Riot have become known as much for their knitted balaklavas as for their harsh music and lyrics.

More recently, they have made international headlines as prisoners of conscience. Members were arrested and charged with “hooliganism” — which carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison — for crashing a service at Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral and singing this anti-Putin song:

Now, Amnesty International has got involved, with a petition to free the prisoners and a Tumblr called .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) where people can upload solidarity pics in their own headgear:


See the content of the petition, and some Tumblr shots, after the break.


To Yuri Yakovlevich Chaika - Prosecutor General, Denis Gennadievich Popov - Prosecutor of the Moscow’s Central District, Sergey I. Kislyak - Ambassador

I am deeply concerned about the detention of Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova for allegedly performing a protest song in a cathedral as part of a feminist punk group “Pussy Riot”. The three women, who are all in their twenties, have been charged with hooliganism under Article 213 of the Russian Criminal Code, for allegedly performing a protest song in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral on 21 February. If found guilty, they could be jailed for up to seven years. The three women deny any involvement in the protest in the cathedral.

Since the three women’s arrest, some of their family members as well as one of their lawyers have received threats. Even though the police and the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office have been informed about these threats, there appears to be no investigation into the incidents. In addition, the tax authorities have reportedly blocked the bank account of the lawyers’ association where the lawyer of one of the three women works.

I respectfully urge you to drop the charges of hooliganism and immediately and unconditionally release Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. Furthermore, I call on you to immediately and impartially investigate threats received by the family members and lawyers of the three women and, if necessary, ensure their protection. Whether or not the women were involved in the performance in the cathedral, freedom of expression is a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and no one should be jailed for the peaceful exercise of this right. Thank you for your attention to this serious matter.


"We Are Pussy Riot" (Amnesty International Tumblr)

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