Rock stars demand Pussy Riot release

0 Posted by - August 2, 2012 - Blog, Sound

Pussy Riot

As Russian president Vladimir Putin visits London to engage in both Olympic and diplomatic shenanigans, several major British musicians, including Pete Townshend, Jarvis Cocker and Corinne Bailey Rae are calling for the release of members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot, who have been locked away in a Moscow prison since March 3.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alekhina have been charged with hooliganism and face up to seven years in jail for performing a “punk prayer” against Putin in a Moscow cathedral this past February. (See the video below.) Their trial began earlier this week.

In a letter published in The Times, the group of British artists called the charges “preposterous,” arguing that the Pussy Riot artists “make legitimate political protest and fight for freedom of speech.” The letter adds:

Dissent is a right in any democracy and it is entirely disproportionate that they face seven years in jail for what we consider a preposterous charge of ‘hooliganism motivated by religious hatred’.

We are especially concerned about recent reports that food is being withheld from them and that they have appeared in court in a cage.

We believe firmly that it is the role of the artist to make legitimate political protest and fight for freedom of speech.

Under international pressure, Putin is now calling (at least publicly) for judicial leniency.

The treatment of Pussy Riot has also be condemned by Amnesty International, Sting (who just performed two concerts in Russia), and other human rights organizations.

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