News / Europe

Russia's Putin Hints at Leniency for Punk Rockers

Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media during his visit to Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street in London, Aug. 2, 2012.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media during his visit to Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street in London, Aug. 2, 2012.
VOA News
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he does not favor harsh punishment for members of a punk rock band on trial in Moscow for alleged hooliganism.

Putin's comments Thursday to Russian reporters are his first public pronouncements on the February arrest and prosecution of three members of the all-girl band Pussy Riot.

The defendants, who have spent the past five months in jail, were arrested after performing a political "protest prayer" at Moscow's main cathedral, just weeks ahead of elections that returned Putin to the presidency.  Their trial, which has drawn international attention, opened Monday.  The defendants facing possible seven-year prison terms if found guilty.

Earlier Thursday, leading British musicians, including Pete Townsend of The Who, called on Russia to free the defendants.

In an open letter published in The Times of London, the musicians described the charges as "preposterous" and called the cathedral performance "legitimate political protest."

The letter was published as Putin arrived in London for talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Afterwards, Cameron said he raised the issue of the band with the Russian leader as part of wider discussions of human rights.

Putin, who is facing growing criticism for trying to silence dissent, has in the past issued carefully phrased comments about high-profile court cases that appear just ahead of final verdicts.

In 2010, he famously said "a thief belongs in prison" as a Moscow court deliberated the fate of oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.  Days later, the court found the defendant guilty of embezzlement and money laundering and issued a six-year sentence. The oilman and a co-defendant were already serving eight-year terms for fraud.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ADEL ALSHEAR from: STOCKHOLM . SWEDEN
August 05, 2012 8:08 AM
THIS IS A GO K G B . THIS IS A GO K G B . THIS IS A GO COMMUNIST RUSSIA POLITIC PARTY. THIS IS A GO COMMUNIST RUSSIA POLITIC PARTY.


by: Lara
August 03, 2012 12:16 PM
So,why,Mr Liar,will you not let them go?!


by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
August 03, 2012 10:03 AM
The drag of the story prolonged the list of Martyrs already created under his pitiless rule: Khodorkovsky-Politkovskaya-Magnitsky… The girls inflicted personal injury in their improvised prayer by doubting that he (KGB man) would be the only choice of God to rule Russia as was proclaimed by Gundyayev (aka Patriarch Kirill) claimed to be KGB man too. The story aimed to frighten both Russia’s capital cities where his rating hit record low. Who else in G8 or G20 creates Martyrs to cling to power?


by: Anonymous
August 02, 2012 10:25 PM
Putin is stupid for even letting this story drag on so long. He should of just had the kids thrown out of court and give them a slap on the wrist. How much $ have these kids cost the government with their case? Throw it out, move on... This story about these girls singing about the Russia Government is just singing the truth anyways. The longer the Russian gov. holds on to these kids, the more popular these girls get. If this happened in the west they would of been ticketed and sent home OR they would of been completely thrown out of court. Don't waste the courts time with stupid stuff...


by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
August 02, 2012 8:54 PM
It’s obvious that Putin at last realized that he has lost more in public & world opinion than he will gain from the farcical ‘justice” and predetermined verdict that his cronies have organized. Even executives in his “pocket” United Russia party called the “trial” as shameful for international image of Russia. In unity is our force!


by: Truth is the Traitor from: Canada
August 02, 2012 7:21 PM
then why isn't putin in jail if that's where theif's belong?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid