The verdict is in for Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot, and it's not good. The three members were found guilty on charges of hooliganism in a trial held on Friday. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich were sentenced to two years each in prison, due to their participation in a guerrilla protest/performance in Moscow’s main cathedral back in March. That day, the women sang a “punk prayer” in which they asked the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin. Here's a video with footage of the Pussy Riot protest from that day, and an interview with the band members:

Moscow Judge Marina Syrova stated in her verdict today that band members "committed hooliganism driven by religious hatred," claiming that their actions were offensive to people of religious faith. Syrova rejected the band’s claim that their intention was not to offend religious believers, but only to protest the Orthodox Church’s support of Putin. Patriarch Kirill, head of the church, openly supports Putin's presidency.

 

The three women sat handcuffed in a glass cage for the three-hour trial held at 3 pm Moscow time, 8am EST, today. They listened as prosecution witnesses accused them of performing sacrilegious “devilish dances” in the Moscow church. While their charges held the maximum penalty of seven years in prison, prosecution only asked for three. 

 

Protestors rose up around the world in support of Pussy Riot, showing their outrage at the charges that violated these activist’ freedom of speech, including celebrity supporters such as Bjork, Paul McCartney and Madonna. Even Vladimir Putin has stated that the band should be freed in trial and charged only with the time they spent in custody.

 

 

Two events in support of the feminist rockers were held in New York, both in Brooklyn and Chelsea. Here's footage of the Chelsea event last night, at which there were readings by Chloe Sevigny, Eileen Myles, Karen Finley, and Johanna Fateman.

Pussy Riot supporters rose up in Washington, Paris, Barcelona, and Reykjavik-- whose mayor organized a special tribute in their honor.  Moscow activists put the band’s trademark balaclavas, or ski masks, on the heads of statues throughout the city. Among the dozens of protesters that police rounded up on the street outside the courtroom was leading opposition activist and world chess champion Garry Kasparov, and leftist opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov.There are also countless protests being organized internationally today-- click here for more info.

 

 

Amnesty International has stated that the members of Pussy Riot “were wrongfully prosecuted for what was a legitimate – if potentially offensive – protest action,” calling the sentence, “a bitter blow for freedom of expression in the country.”  As an act of protest, Amnesty International is taking donations to be used to purchase and transport a truckload of colorful balaclavas to Putin.  You can donate here to assist in the fight to FREE PUSSY RIOT.

Photo Credit: Huffington Post & Free Pussy Riot

 

 

Tagged in: Russia, putin, Pussy Riot, Punk, feminism   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.




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