Russia’s “Pussy Riot” remain in jail

In February, five members of “Pussy Riot,” Russia’s radical, feminist, punk band, entered Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral stood at the altar and sang “Mother of God, Blessed Virgin, drive out Putin!” For their protest art against President Vladimir Putin, three members of the band were arrested, charged with hooliganism, which can carry a seven-year long prison sentence, and have been held in jail since March. The three women, Nadya Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, say they are members of the band, but deny participating in the events at the Cathedral.  On Thursday, a judge turned down a request to release the women on bail until their trial starts. He extended their detention until June 24th. Amnesty International, which has taken up the case, explains that,

Even if the three arrested women did take part in the protest, the severity of the response of the Russian authorities – the detention on the serious criminal charge of hooliganism – would not be a justifiable response to the peaceful – if, to many, offensive – expression of their political beliefs. They would therefore be prisoners of conscience….

The broader political context surrounding the anti-Putin protests at the time – and the anti-clerical, anti-Putin content of the activists’ message (themselves unpunishable) – have clearly and unlawfully been taken into account in the charges that have been brought against them.

Before the hearings, around 60 people gathered the courthouse and chanted“Freedom! Freedom!” and an Orthodox bystander threw an egg at a band member’s husband.

Here is video of the Cathedral Incident for which the three women have been detained and face up to seven years of prison:

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Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/toongrrl/ toongrrl

    To be honest, on the altar is a bit much.
    I am looking up Patriarch Kirill I on Wikipedia and I see that he is quite a prick. Glad to see many religious believers in the Orthodox religion, in Catholicism, and Atheism disagreeing with his Pro-Putin stance

  • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    I’ve heard about this but had not seen it(or heard the band) till now. I am in so many levels of awe right now.