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October 19, 2012

Pussy Riot Member Takes Case to European Court

by VOA News

The only freed member of the anti-Kremlin all-female punk band Pussy Riot has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights.

Yekaterina Samutsevich's lawyer, Irina Khrunova, said on Friday the complaint accuses Russia of violating Samutsevich's right to free speech and illegally detaining her during her six months in jail.

Khrunova says prison authorities deprived Samutsevich of food, liquids and sleep.

Last week, a Russian appeals court freed Samutsevich but upheld the two-year jail sentences of two other members of the band for an unsanctioned protest at a Moscow cathedral.

A judge suspended Samutsevich's sentence, saying guards threw her out of the cathedral before she could take part in the performance.
All three members were convicted in August of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.  They have argued their impromptu performance was political in nature and not an attack on religion.

The trio was arrested on the altar of Russia’s most prominent Orthodox cathedral in January, after they called on the Virgin Mary to deliver them from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said he thought the punishment was very strict. But Putin has said the court ruling was correct.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.