This hasn't been getting much play in US Progressive circles - but it's very serious. These young ladies were sentenced to two years in a prison colony in Russia for making political statments that criticized the church and the government. It's outrageous and it's been getting a lot of play elsewhere. --BL
Moscow Court Postpones Pussy Riot Hearing - The three women, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, and Maria Alyokhina, 24, were convicted in August of hooliganism and sentenced to two years in a prison colony for staging a “punk prayer” in Moscow’s main Russian Orthodox cathedral last February. They said the stunt was intended to protest against Vladimir V. Putin, who was running for president at the time, and to criticize support for Mr. Putin by the church patriarch, Kirill I.
The prosecution of the three women, two of them mothers of young children, became an international sensation, and prompted wide criticism of Russia over the suppression of political speech. The women received support from a number of major music stars, including Sting and Madonna, as well as many governments. On the day of their conviction and sentencing, supporters rallied in dozens of cities around the world, many wearing colorful balaclavas – Pussy Riot’s trademark head gear.
But the judge who convicted the women, Marina Syrova, said that political comments were spliced into a video of the stunt later and that her verdict was based on the infiltration of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the women’s behavior in front of the altar, which she said amounted to “the insult and humiliation of the Christian faith and inciting religious hatred.”
With Pussy Riot now one of the best-known symbols of the Russian political opposition, any development in their case attracts enormous attention and mobilization efforts. Security was tightened around the courthouse on Monday as defenders of the Russian Orthodox Church chanted hymns and engaged in public prayer. Meanwhile, supporters of Pussy Riot brought an inflatable doll to the courthouse wearing a balaclava. Several people were arrested, including members of a Ukrainian male dance group called Kazaky, who appeared in support of Pussy Riot.
--DAVID M. HERSZENHORN, nytimes.com
Pussy Riot members Maria Alekhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in a glass cage at a courtroom in Moscow. (Mikhail Metzel / Associated Press / August 17, 2012
(Look at the T-shirt: "No Pasaran" was an historic anti-facisct saying from England. - BL)
Pussy Riot gets support from Yoko Ono and Amnesty International - Yoko Ono, with the backing of the human rights group Amnesty International, said Monday that the LennonOno Grant for Peace is being awarded to the beleaguered female Russian punk band whose members received jail terms for staging a public protest against President Vladimir Putin at Moscow cathedral earlier this year.
Even as Pussy Riot submits to the tender mercies of the Russian judicial system, international pressure continues to build to secure the group's release. The award from John Lennon's widow coincides with the European Parliament nominating Pussy Riot for the Sakharov Prize, named for the Soviet-era scientist/dissident Andrei Sakharov.
Reed Johnson, latimes.com
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