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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid