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Pussy Riot Members Appeal Sentence

Written by Marc Zanotti on August 28, 2012

Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, the three jailed members of Russian ‘oi-feminist-punk’ group Pussy Riot, have appealed against their two-year sentence after being charged with and convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred due to the band’s protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin at Moscow’s Christ The Saviour Cathedral in February.

ABC News reported that the appeal was lodged by Defence lawyer Nikolai Polozov who says that if the court were to actually honour the law it would dismiss the charges and overturn the verdict but Polozov also concedes that is an unlikely prospect.

“Being realists, understanding all the efforts the state has put into this case, we think it’s unlikely the verdict will be overturned,” Polozov said.

The arrest and conviction of Samutsevich, Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova has caused massive uproar throughout the public. Reportedly an axe-wielding male fan threatened a judge, while Russian artist Petr Pavlensky sewed his mouth shut as a sign of protest against the conviction. Internationally there have been public protests and petitions from fellow musicians, while even Julian Assange mentioned the punk collective in his recent speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Meanwhile, two members of Pussy Riot have fled Russia in order to escape prosecution.

In the closing statements from the three jailed members, the human rights activists unapologetically stood behind their actions as can be read in the opening lines of Samutsevich’s statement, “In the closing statement, the defendant is expected to repent, express regret for her deeds, or enumerate extenuating circumstances. In my case, as in the case of my colleagues in the group, this is completely unnecessary.”

Watch: Pussy Riot Montage – by The Guardian

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