News / Europe

Appeal Hearing Set for Jailed Russian Rockers

Symbolically-chained Pussy Riot supporters march near the Kremlin Wall, Moscow, Sept. 22, 2012.
Symbolically-chained Pussy Riot supporters march near the Kremlin Wall, Moscow, Sept. 22, 2012.
A Moscow court will hear an appeal in the case of three female punk rockers sentenced to two years in a penal colony for singing out against Russian President Vladimir Putin from the altar of the country's most prominent Orthodox cathedral.
 
Members of the all-female band Pussy Riot, all of whom are under age 30, were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for performing a punk prayer calling on the Virgin Mary to deliver them from then-Prime-Minister Putin.
 
Lawyers for the women say they are appealing the conviction this Monday because they believe the sentence was politically motivated and that band members were merely voicing their negative opinion of the church’s support for Putin.
 
Relatives and friends of the band members say they don’t believe the sentences will be reduced.
 
"The Pussy Riot case is not separate from the rest of the political events in the country," said defense attorney Mark Feigin, referring to the February event at Moscow's Christ the Savior cathedral. "The case is part of the political repression taking place in Russia following the December and March [elections] and everything that followed, when mass protests flooded Russia."
 
Because there has been a crackdown on dissent since Putin returned to power in May, Feigin added, he doubts there will be any change in the outcome of the trial.
 
Since Putin's May inauguration, fines for organizing or participating in unsanctioned protests have increased more than 150-fold. Kremlin officials also recently moved to expel the U.S. Agency for International Development, which spent billions of dollars over the past 20 years trying to transition the former Soviet Union from a state-controlled government to a civil society.
 
Some analysts say that Putin is not allowing any opinions in Russia other than those which endorse his strong-armed image.
 
The father of band member Yekaterina Samusevich says the verdict is unfair.
 
"If you think sanely and logically, well, how long can this go on?" he said. "For these 40 seconds of action in the church another half a year in jail. What else do we need? Go ahead, execute them so that no one hears about them."
 
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has weighed in on the band's sentence, saying he thought the punishment was very severe. Putin also asked the court to go easy on the women. Some analysts say the comments from the administration were merely for show.
 
Earlier this 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.

Analysts say the announcement merely tightens the relationship between the Kremlin and the Orthodox Church and is meant to further crack down on the opposition.

You May Like

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid