Thursday, March 21, 2013

Russian Court Rejects Initial Appeal of Sentences By Pussy Riot Members

According to Sky News, in Russia the presidium of the Moscow City Court on March 15 rejected an appeal by Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, the two members of the punk group Pussy Riot who have been sentenced to two-years in remote prison camps for 'hooliganism motivated by religious hatred." (See prior posting.)  The sentence came in the band's prosecution for an anti-Putin protest performance in Christ the Savior Cathedral. In addition to rejecting the defendants' appeal, the court also rejected an official complaint by Russia's rights ombudsman who sought a new trial for the women, claiming that their actions were not serious enough to be classified as a crime. The judge ruled that the sentence was "fair and proportional to the offence."  The women now plan an appeal to the chairman of the Moscow City Court, and then to the Supreme Court.