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Paul McCartney Supports Pussy Riot, Sends Russian Officials Handwritten Letter

Written by Marc Zanotti on May 23, 2013

Paul McCartney has taken it upon himself to write to Russian officials in a show of support for the incarcerated members of activist punk group Pussy Riot.

According to McCartney’s official website, the former Beatle decided to take action after learning that imprisoned Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina will go on a hunger strike after being denied the right to attend her own parole hearing next week.

McCartney also penned the letter to support Alyokhina’s bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who was denied parole last month.

In his letter regarding Alyokhina, McCarney pleads with Russian officials that she be released on parole. Rather then making a list of demands, McCartney appeals to the Russian peoples’ “great tradition of fair-mindedness”:

“My personal belief is that further incarceration for Maria will be harmful for her and the situation as a whole, which, of course, is being watched by people all over the world.

“In the great tradition of fair-mindedness, which the Russian people (many of whom are my friends) are famous for, I believe that you granting this request would send a very positive message to all the people who have followed this case.”

Sir Paul’s separate letter supporting Tolokonnikova notes he has many Russian acquaintances and believes they would want their government to proceed with compassion and kindness:

“I have had a long relationship with the Russian people, and, with this in mind, I am making the following request in a spirit of friendship for my many Russian acquaintances who, like me, believe in treating people – all people, with compassion and kindness.”

McCartney joins a long list of prominent musicians and performers that have spoken up in support of Pussy Riot. Other artists include Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bjork, Green Day, and Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie who heaped praise on the girls when speaking with Music Feeds:

“They’re obviously really incredibly [intelligent] girls. They’re very well-read, they’re very cultured, you know, they’re clever and they’ve obviously got an indomitable spirit.

“All they did is nothing … in the scheme of things in Britain and Australia, you wouldn’t go to jail for that. But the full fucking weight the Russian fucking establishment came down hard on them.”

“So anybody anywhere in the world that stands up against oppression, we’re obviously going to admire. I think they’re incredibly brave, courageous girls.”

In August of last year Pussy Riot members Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova received a two-year sentence after being found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. Since that time Samutsevich has been released from prison on a two-year suspended sentence.

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