Home Page > News Item > PEN Russia Protests Pussy Riot Detentions

17 May 2012

Open letter in support of the Pussy Riot band members who staged the ‘punk prayer’ in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

To President D. A. Medvedev

Cc: Advisor of the President of Russian Federation

To the Chairman Fedotov M. A.

About the development of civil society and human rights

We, the members of Russian PEN Centre, worldwide association of writers, call to stop the prosecution of the arrested members of the band Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina, Hadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samusevich, who now are in jail and charged under the article 213 of Russian Criminal Code of hooliganism, sentence for which the maximum penalty is seven years in prison. Close examination to the lyrics of the songs did not find that the girls’ motives were hatred and enmity which confirms the absence of evidence against them. Experts have confirmed that there was evidence of possible insult to the feelings of believers of the Orthodox Church. For this kind of offence administrative law has ordered a fine of 1000 roubles (approx. 21 pounds).

This arrest in itself is a violation of the constitution of the Russian Federation as it breach the Russian law and people of sound judgement. We want to see our country following the constitution, and think that these kind of actions compromise our state’s commitment to it. We regard this as yet another insult to common sense by Russian authorities.

We urgently ask you, the guarantors of the Russian constitution, to show humanity and immediately free the band members from custody.

(Translated from the original Russian text)

For further details on PEN International’s position on Pussy Riot go to http://www.pen-international.org/newsitems/russia-pen-joins-calls-for-release-of-pussy-riot-band-members/

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