News / Europe

Russian Lawyers, Legislator Claim Political Discrimination

Supporter of the punk band Pussy Riot with a sign on her wrist reading
Supporter of the punk band Pussy Riot with a sign on her wrist reading "They are your children, Russia," Moscow, Aug. 17, 2012.
A lawyer for punk rock band “Pussy Riot” says he is facing pressure from Kremlin officials for defending the convicted musicians.
 
Meanwhile, a Russian parliamentary committee says it has found sufficient evidence to oust an opposition deputy from the lower house of parliament.
 
The new allegations of political harrassment emerge ahead of protests of President Vladmir Putin that are set to take place this weekend.
 
Members of legal team questioned
 
According to Mark Feigin, attorney for the three band members convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, Russian authorities called him in for questioning about disturbances that occurred during a massive anti-Putin rally on Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square in May.
 
While Feigin did attend a May 6 anti-Putin demonstration, which was sanctioned by authorities, along with thousands of others, it was shortly after Putin's inauguration for an unprecedented third presidential term that Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, increased fines for participating in unsanctioned protests more than 150-fold — more than the average Russian's annual salary.
 
The move, says some analysts and opposition leaders, was intended as a clear signal that Putin wouldn't tolerate dissent.
 
Nikolai Polozov, another lawyer for the all-female band, says his colleague’s summons is no coincidence, and that authorities had indicated there could be consequences for defending the band's decision to call on the Virgin Mary to deliver them from Putin on the altar of Russia’s most prominent Orthodox Cathedral in February.
 
"Authorities gave us a signal that if we continue to defend our defendants in the "Pussy Riot" case in this manner — I mean defend without compromise, without making any secret compromises or deals with the investigators and judge — then they will persecute us," said Polozov, adding that a third member of the "Pussy Riot" legal team was also called in for questioning. "What's happening now is a confirmation of our words: that officials have decided to put direct pressure on the lawyers."
 
Outspoken legislator targeted
 
Member of Just Russia political party Gennady Gudkov, center, near Bolotnaya square, Moscow, Dec. 10, 2011.Member of Just Russia political party Gennady Gudkov, center, near Bolotnaya square, Moscow, Dec. 10, 2011.
x
Member of Just Russia political party Gennady Gudkov, center, near Bolotnaya square, Moscow, Dec. 10, 2011.
Member of Just Russia political party Gennady Gudkov, center, near Bolotnaya square, Moscow, Dec. 10, 2011.
Meanwhile, Gennady Gudkov, a three-term legislator from the socialist Just Russia party and a Duma deputy, says the Kremlin is targeting him with alleged ethics violations because he is an opposition leader.
 
"Officials couldn't find any damaging evidence against [me], any violations on [my] part," he said, explaining that they are trying to remove him from the State Duma because they are "afraid of the truth, afraid of critics, afraid of [my] stance."
 
A commission responsible for monitoring business activities of Russian lawmakers claims to have evidence that Gudkov is in violation of the law by co-owning and managing a construction-materials business and allegedly making money from a textile firm.
 
The commission's findings could allow the Duma to force Gudkov out just as opposition organizers have planned more rallies against Putin this weekend.
 
The Kremlin has consistently maintained that if leaders and ordinary Russians break the law, they must be punished.
 
"We are talking about the destiny of the Russian opposition, the destiny of the Russian protest movement," said Gudkov, adding that he still plans to attend an anti-Putin rally on Saturday. "We are discussing in general the destiny of the Russian people and the destiny of our country, because if the authorities continue to move forward on a path of political reprisal and non-judicial punishment, civil war will not be slow to come."

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
September 11, 2012 10:04 PM
This prejudiced, arbitrary and blown out of proportion overreactions against lawyers for “Pussy Riot” and Duma deputy Gudkov are counter-productive and look as intimidation. They undoubtedly repel Asian investors whom Mr Putin has tried to invite in Russia in the last APEC summit in Vladivostok to compensate the fleeing foreign capital from the country.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More