ISSN 2330-717X

Pussy Riot Trial: Is Euro Parliament Fond Of Punk Rock? – OpEd

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By Andrey Smirnov

A Moscow court has upheld two-year jail terms for Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova from the punk band Pussy Riot who were found guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” for staging a protest in Moscow’s main cathedral, Christ the Savior.

However, the court has freed one of the convicted, Yekaterina Samutsevich.

Seven members of the band Pussy Riot
Seven members of the band Pussy Riot

Some say that the girls were right in having changed their defense lawyers, as the previous ones cared only about PR and the fuss around the trial.

The new lawyers plan to appeal the verdict and go to the Moscow City Court or the European Court of Human Rights.

The girls were first sentenced on August 17. Their imprisonment sparked widespread international condemnation and their supporters called them prisoners of conscience while opponents wanted punishment. However, the latter still backed a suspended sentence for the girls.

Euro Parliament envoy from Latvia Alexander Mirsky believes that their isolation was the best thing for the girls.

“I can’t imagine what Muslims’ reaction would have been if they had performed in a mosque. People fail to understand that this path is very dangerous – it leads to a religious and national confrontation. So, the girls should be happy to be isolated as some believers could be too infuriated.?

Some experts believe that the punishment was provoked by the girls’ lawyers who cared only about self-promotion and the Pussy Riot brand. They somehow succeeded, as a number of world celebrities supported the girls. Then activists and the European Parliament joined the “free Pussy Riot” choir and even nominated the girls for the Sakharov Award. Pussy Riot were shortlisted for the prize on October 9, which discredits the award, says Alexander Mirsky.

“The Sakharov Prize is awarded for freedom of thought and human rights protection while the girls’ show has nothing to do with it. I hope to convince my colleagues not to make this foolish decision as it’s illogical. Otherwise, this will create a gap between the people of Russia and the EU.”

The Amnesty International is still urging the court to free the two girls so they can “make art again”.

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VOR

VOR, or the Voice of Russia, was the Russian government's international radio broadcasting service from 1993 until 2014, when it was reorganised as Radio Sputnik.

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