“Pussy Riot” wins award from Yoko Ono, praise from Aung San Suu Kyi

As we’ve blogged about in the past, three members of the Russian punk feminist band Pussy Riot have spent the last six months in prison singing a protest prayer against Russian leader Vladimir Putin inside an Orthodox cathedral.

On Friday, Yoko Ono, who has been vocal in her support of the three women, who were sentenced to two years in August, awarded Pussy Riot the LennonOno Grant for Peace, saying

I thank Pussy Riot for standing firmly in their belief of freedom of expression and making all women of the world proud to be women. And I am, too. Each injustice like this is very important. And there are many, many activists in this world now, and they are fighting for each one of them. And I’m fighting for many, many injustice—situation of injustice.

She presented the award to Pyotr Verzilov, the husband of jailed Pussy Riot member Nadia Tolokonnikova, and their four-year-old daughter Gera, who has draws prison escape plans for her mother when she visits her in jail.

On Thursday, Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese pro-democracy leader voiced her support for Pussy Riot:

I don’t see why people shouldn’t sing whatever it is that they want to sing, and there’s nothing wrong with singing. I think the only reason why people should not sing is if what they are saying is deliberately insulting or if they sing terribly. I think that would be the best reason for not singing at all. So I would like the whole group to be released as soon as possible.

DemocracyNow!’s Amy Goodman has a great interview with Verzilov and Alisa Obraztsova, a lawyer’s assistant with Pussy Riot’s legal team. You can read it and/ or watch it 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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  • http://feministing.com/members/schmeronica/ veronica

    Thanks for the update! Small typo — “who has draws prison escape plans…”