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European Green Party repeat their call to free Pussy Riot

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 Pussy Riot demonstration at Russian delegation in Brussels, Belgium

A two year jail term for an act of critical comment against the state is heavy-handed and must be lifted.

On August 17, three members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, were each jailed for two years after being found guilty of hooliganism following their performance of an anti-Putin song in the Moscow orthodox church cathedral.
 
The European Greens protest this abuse of basic human rights in Russia through a judicial system that is supposed to act to protect individual rights and freedoms. 
 
"The pussy riot verdict is a blasphemy for the Russian judicial system,” said European Green Co-Chair Monica Frassoni. "The performance in the cathedral alone cannot justify such a disproportionate sentence and is a clear demonstration of the  suppression of basic fundamental freedoms in the country. The jail term that the three young women have been subjected to is an excessive demonstration of force by a state that refuses to respect any critical voice and has used this event to send a clear message of intimidation to all dissenters. The European Greens cannot condone this result and reiterates its emphatic support for the release of the Pussy Riot trio.
 
"We hope that the Russian judicial system will prove its competence and act to protect  the three women in the appeal they will file against the sentence."

The simple protest song that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich performed - one of many protest events they have held in Russia - has been escalated to a national and an international protest movement that has brought unforeseen, but much needed, attention to the Russian state, leadership and its judicial system.

As for the protest act itself, it was a moment of unauthorized performance. There was no physical injury, no destruction of property. Any offense is the perceived injury to the orthodox church. None of this merits two years in jail. 
 
As for the offense to the church, the trio made unequivocal and immediate apologies to the church, its leaderships and members. The church also offered their forgiveness to the trio - but only after the two year jail sentence was delivered. 
 
Within Russia, comments by the opposition state that the jail sentence is a clear indication of the heavy-handed control being exercised by state institutions to control any and all dissent in the country. 
 
While these three women have captured international attention, it is important to recognize and support the many other individual acts of expression in Russia that have been curtailed by the state. Freedom of speech cannot be limited to those that gather media, artistic or political support. The European Greens are committed to protecting the right to non-violent protest and self-expression at every level.
 
The European Green party expressed its solidarity to the international campaign to free the Pussy Riot trio on June 16, stating that the trio were "incarcerated, not for having committed any real crime but for being critical of Putin," said Monika Vana, member of the European Green Party (EGP) committee, at the time. "We support the international solidarity campaign to free the Pussy Riots and request freedom of expression and upholding humans rights in Russia."
 
With the jail sentence, the European Greens firmly repeat their solidarity with the campaign to free the three members of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich. The jail sentence is an excessive reaction to what has been seen, correctly, as a simple issue of freedom of expression. The European Greens stand by fundamental human rights, the right to freedom of speech, for all citizens. 
 
The trio are now appealing the sentence and this is another opportunity for the Russian system to show a capacity for level-headed treatment of a minor  offense and the immediate release three women with time served.

Comments

Ike

About 2 years ago

This is not an item Green Party should be interested in, while the Earth is dying.
Members of Pussy Riot did an awkward and disgusting social experiment, which offended the feelings of the citizens of their country. What is worse they didn't even show any sign of remorse. While similar thing happened to Charlie Gilmour in Britain, nobody said a word, and it comes out that EGP is just supporting Pussy Riot in their blasphemic actions :/

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