Heard Of Pussy Riot? Pair Claim Compensation For Violations Of Human Rights

Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk rock protest group. Their songs contain strong political messages opposing some of Putin’s policies, whom they regard as a dictator, his link to the Russian Orthodox Church, and also messages about feminism and LGBT rights. Below is the video that saw two members arrested:

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova both spent 21 months in prison, and also pretrial confinement. The pair claim the investigation and prosecution of their crimes was tantamount to torture. They are seeking $161, 260 each in compensation for the violation of human rights, and $13,000 for legal fees. If they win the case, they are reportedly going to donate all the money to human rights charities, before attempting to overturn their criminal convictions.

They were arrested on the grounds of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,” after performing the song Mother Of God, Drive Putin Out in Christ the Saviour Cathedral. One member was given a suspended sentence, however the others remained in prison until their release last December when they were granted amnesty.

Agora, a human rights legal group have taken on the girls’ case. The lawsuit claims that four instances of the European Convention of Human Rights were violated. These are: the right to freedom of speech, the right to liberty and security, the right to a fair trail and also committing torture.

pussy riot

The head of Agora, Pavel Chikov, has stated the women were made to appear guilty from the beginning, even before they were given the chance to defend themselves. They were kept in a glass cage during trial and were constantly escorted by police dogs. The effect of this, was that the public perceived them as guilty even before the court had made their judgement.

However the Government put forward a 35 page response on the claim. Summarised, it said that the complaint was “ovbiously unfounded,” and said the use of glass confinement is used in many counties. The report finished by saying the girls’ treatment was a “side-effect” of their desire to protect Russian Orthodox worshippers’ freedom of belief.

However, the lawsuit holds strongly in place, and is said to be served as a political statement. The girls maintain they were not given a fair trial or given the freedom of speech, and that they want to ensure these rights are given to the people of Russia, and enable the Russian public to speech freely and openly about sensitive political issue in public places if they so wish, regardless of whether it is the voice of the majority or not.

The Pussy Riot were targeted as soon as they began opposing the majority. Below is a video of their treatment after performing in the street (harmlessly). The group were never violent or aggressive in any way, and emphasized that their protests were always peaceful. The case attracted much attention, and many people took to the streets to protest for the release of both members.

Michael Lewin

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