Pussy Riot sentencing sparks international protest

On Friday,  Judge Marina Syrova convicted three members of Pussy Riot the women of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,  sentencing them to “two years deprivation of liberty in a penal colony.” This is one year less than the three-year sentence sought by prosecutors. Syrova said the punk prayer Pussy Riot had performed in a Moscow cathedral had “crudely undermined social order.” She stated that  “These three plus others… plotted together to undermine civil order, motivated by religious hatred.” Syrova justified her sentence, saying, “Considering the nature and degree of the danger posed by what was done, the defendants’ correction is possible only through an actual punishment.”

Lawyers representing Pussy Riot anticipated the guilty verdict and plan to appeal the sentence through the courts, rather than to Putin. The  sentencing sparked protests around the world, some of which are captured in this photo gallery from The Guardian.

Especially scary is the news that the Russian police are currently searching for more members of the anonymous feminist punk band, continuing the crackdown on dissent and protest reminiscent of the show trials during the Soviet era.

Amnesty International considers the women “prisoners of conscience, for they are detained solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs.” You can Amnesty’s petition calling for the release of Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova here.

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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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