News / Europe

Russia Faces Criticism over Band Sentence

Feminist punk group Pussy Riot members, from left, Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sit in a glass cage at a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, August 17, 2012.
Feminist punk group Pussy Riot members, from left, Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sit in a glass cage at a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, August 17, 2012.
VOA News
Russia is facing mounting criticism of the two-year prison sentence for "hooliganism" given to members of an all-female punk band for their protest in an Orthodox cathedral.

A judge handed down the sentence Friday for three members of the band Pussy Riot, prompting demonstrations in cities across the globe, including Moscow, London, Paris and New York.  

The women's legal team plans to appeal the verdict.

The band members were arrested in March after performing a "punk prayer" in Moscow's main cathedral, pleading with the Virgin Mary to deliver Russia from Vladimir Putin, who was elected to a third term as Russia's president weeks after the protest.

The Orthodox Church issued a statement Friday, calling on Russian authorities to show the women "mercy" within the framework of the law.  

The French news agency, AFP, reports that a telephone poll conducted by the Echo of Moscow radio station Saturday indicated 77 percent of listeners felt it was "impossible to agree with the verdict."

The U.S. said the sentence was "disproportionate" and urged Russian authorities to review the case to ensure the right to freedom of expression is upheld.

The European Union's top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, said the case adds to what she called a recent upsurge in politically motivated intimidation and prosecution of opposition activists in Russia.

Amnesty International says it considers the women prisoners of conscience.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Moscow courthouse Friday to support the band.  Some were arrested, including opposition leader Sergei Ukaltsov and former chess champion Garry Kasparov who is a strong critic of Putin.   

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

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga region
August 19, 2012 9:45 AM
Davis K. Thanjan from: New York saw analogy between the St. Patrick Cathedral and the church in Moscow. (S)he doesn’t no a thing about the extent of lawlessness in Putin’s Russia, denial of basic human rights, alleged ties between Patriarch Kirill of Russian Orthodox Church and the FSB. Not any priest in the USA is linked with CIA, promotes a President’s hopeful as a “miracle from God” who rectified the crooked path of history”(by declaring state of emergency in country , suspending Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen stipulated in articles 17.1, 22.1, 27, 29.1, 29.5, 31, 56.1 of Russian Constitution).


by: kamil
August 18, 2012 1:23 PM
if international community thinks they are prisoners of conscience they also should think the same about Assange and Manning and many others. it really undermines and hinders any criticism and entire cause of human rights. the world should be more united and oppressive states die out

In Response

by: kamil
August 19, 2012 4:53 AM
although russia is much sinister case. in russia they would (Assange or Manning) disappear and then found dead or would die in prison not from natural course. pussy riot trial is just manifestation of brutality of regime.


by: CF from: CA
August 18, 2012 10:24 AM
No criticism from me. They're lucky that the same church they disrespected stepped in requested mercy on their behalf, or they would be serving the maximum sentence.


by: Anonymous
August 18, 2012 10:02 AM
This is all about attention. Putin loves this attention, because without this he would have none. He likes control too, and exercising his control. This is the biggest news since Putin took office (AGAIN). Although he is enjoying the media stir it's caused for him, he should be embarassed.


by: dacite from: canada
August 18, 2012 9:59 AM
Church and state - Stalinists!


by: Brad from: WI
August 18, 2012 9:50 AM
So they get 2 years...not too bad. In America, you can be detained indefinitely without charges due to the recently signed NDAA. Russian has more freedom and rights for their citizens than this country.

In Response

by: Mike
August 21, 2012 5:35 PM
Do not lie. For disorderly conduct women never get prison for two years in the United States. You do not know American law. The girls were sentenced to imprisonment in a concentration camp is not for the fact that they sang a song in church, but for the fact that sang a song against the Russian Tsar Putin. There was no democracy in Russia.


by: Northlander from: US
August 18, 2012 9:41 AM
I already know what's going to happen here. After a few months, Putin will swoop down and commute their sentence. Then he will be the hero that he thinks he is and believes he will be looked upon by his subjects as heroic and just. (not)


by: Xira from: Austin
August 18, 2012 9:32 AM
They would have done worse in an Amerikan court.

If they had done that in a church in Amerika, they'd be looking at 10 years.

In Response

by: savior from: denvah
August 19, 2012 12:25 PM
you're ignorance is breathtaking...peace.


by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
August 18, 2012 9:30 AM

There is overwhelming criticism against the Pussy Riot band
verdict. These criticisms are directed against Putin with the support of feminists, gays and lebians. If the punk band occupy the St. Patrick Cathedral in New York and criticize Obama, the womens's band may be convicted for tresspassing, desecration of religious premises, hate crime and anti-American activities and what not but not for criticizing Obama. The Pussy Riot deserves the prison term whether they are in Moscow or New York for hurting the religious feelings in the name of political, gay, lesbian or womens rights. The punk band should not invade churches to protest against Putin or Obama, while it is OK to protest in the street or other public places.



Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid