Madonna Calls for Putin to Free Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot

Three members of the Russian punk protest band Pussy Riot were convicted last week for hooliganism inspired by religious hatred.

The band members were sentenced to two years in a penal colony and not house arrest, which has inspired protests and calls for their release from all over the world.

Pussy Riot was convicted in February for a protest against Putin’s re-election, staged at Moscow’s main cathedral.Pussy Riot

Pop idol Madonna has called for the release of the three convicted band members – Yekaterina Samutsevitch, Maria Alyokhina, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.

Madonna wrote: “I protest the conviction and sentencing of Pussy Riot to a penal colony for two years for a 40-second performance extolling their political opinions. Even if one disagrees with the location or how they chose to express themselves, the sentence is too harsh and, in fact, is inhumane. I call on all those who love the freedom to condemn this unjust punishment. I urge artists around the world to speak up in protest against this travesty. They’ve spent enough time in jail. I call on ALL of Russia to let Pussy Riot go free.”

Madonna, although last week on her MDNA tour angered Russian conservatives in St. Petersburg, is not noted for her human rights concerns in Russia. The Washington Post points out that Madonna has remained silent during other human rights crimes, such as the murder of activist Natalia Estimerova in 2009 and the death fo Anna Politkovskaya in 2006. But, of all the protests across the world, Madonna’s voice is powerful enough to rise above the rest and bring serious attention to this issue, which might finally turn the tide on some of Putin’s regime’s more egregious abuses.

World governments are also calling the sentence “disproportionate” to the crime. A spokeswoman for the US state department said: “We urge Russian authorities to review this case and ensure that the right to freedom of expression is upheld.”

Putin’s meanwhile claims that the protests are orchestrated by foreign powers to end his rule, while opposition leader Alexey Navalny claims the verdict was Putin’s personal revenge against the band.

Pussy Riot’s defense team will appeal their sentence next week. The three women convicted have already spent five months in prison awaiting trial, which, according to Russian legislation, equals ten months in prison.

The appeals process is complicated in many countries, but wrongful convictions in the US can be especially complex. The experienced lawyers at Strom Law handle criminal defense cases, including federal defense and appeals. Contact us today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800.

Pussy Riot

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