News / Europe

    Moscow Court Postpones Jail Sentence Appeal by Punk-Rock Band

    Members of the female punk band 'Pussy Riot' sit in a glass-walled cage before a court hearing in Moscow, October 1, 2012.
    Members of the female punk band 'Pussy Riot' sit in a glass-walled cage before a court hearing in Moscow, October 1, 2012.
    An appeal by three punk-rock musicians convicted of hooliganism for protesting the rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin has been postponed by a Moscow court. The members of the Pussy Riot band are appealing their two-year jail term.

    A Moscow court judge said the appeal is being postponed until October 10th, after band-member Yekaterina Samutsevich said she fired her lawyers due to an unspecified disagreement.

    The prosecution says Samutsevich is merely trying to delay the appeal. In August, the three female punk rockers were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and sentenced to two years in a penal colony.

    They were arrested on the altar of Russia’s most prominent Orthodox cathedral, after they called on the Virgin Mary to deliver them from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Band members say they were merely voicing their opinion and did not mean to offend anyone. The Russian Orthodox Church said in a statement Sunday that if the women repented, it would not go unnoticed by the courts.

    Recently, following intense public criticism about the case, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that he thought the punishment was very strict.

    Putin also asked the court to go easy on the women, but some analysts say the comments from the administration were just for show. Lawyers for the women say they believe the charges are politically motivated and doubt they will receive a softer sentence.

    Last week, Russia’s lower house of parliament adopted a declaration that says vandalism against church property, the killing of spiritual leaders and blasphemous acts of hooliganism pose a threat to the country’s security and must be countered.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
    October 01, 2012 9:02 PM
    The comments from Mr Putin, PM D.Medved and the ROCh are outrageous hypocrisy. The court’s verdict and the adjournment expose judicial system under Mr Putin as fictitious and serving as a smoke screen for undemocratic regime and tramping on human rights.

    by: Tata
    October 01, 2012 11:25 AM
    Your statement: "convicted of hooliganism for protesting the rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin " is a lie.
    The girls are convected for disrupting behaviors in a Cathedral, religious place.
    This type of behavour would not be excepted in any Western Country!
    In Response

    by: forinfan
    October 01, 2012 12:57 PM
    No, tata. That's what they did. What they were convicted of was hooliganism. They protested in the cathedral because of the church/state links. That kind of behavior would be criticized in the West, but never would anyone face any punishment like they did. At worst, they might face some sort of trespassing misdemeanor and face many hours of trash collection on roads, or a fine and a threat that if they repeated their actions they might actually get a few days in jail. A two-year jail term (reduced from seven) in a forced labour camp is pure tyranny and an unacceptable trampling of human rights not only in Western countries but also to free people everywhere and many people in Russia.

    by: Meow from: Not Moscow
    October 01, 2012 11:19 AM
    It was postponed because they fired a lawyer, nothing really unusual. The band is called Pussy Riot if anyone is curious.

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