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HOUSE OF THE WEEK

Friday, 17 August 2012

Pussy Riot Members Found Guilty For ‘Punk Prayer’ Against Putin (Video)


A judge found three members of an all-girl Russian punk band guilty on Friday of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, after they staged a guerrilla performance of a song that criticized Vladimir Putin.
The members of Pussy Riot -- one of whom is a permanent resident of Canada -- have been in jail for six months and face a maximum of seven years in prison. They are expected to be sentenced later Friday.
Immediately after the decision was issued, Twitter came alive with supporters of the band slamming the ruling and announcing they were heading to protests at Russian embassies in cities around the world.
The women were charged with hooliganism connected with religious hatred after they stormed into a central cathedral in Moscow and briefly performed a song that entreated the Virgin Mary to protect Russia from Putin. It was described as a "punk prayer."
The incident took place in March, when Putin was on the verge of winning a new term as Russian president.
In recent weeks the case has made headlines around the world and support has galvanized for the women, two of whom have young children and have not been allowed to see their families.
"It is exposing the actual concerns that we have been expressing for quite some time about the restriction on freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly," said David Diaz-Jogeix, of the human rights advocacy group Amnesty International.

The group has been calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the band members, saying their performance did not constitute a criminal act.
Protests are planned in dozens of cities around the world on Friday, and a number of international pop stars have expressed their support for the group, including Paul McCartney, Madonna and Bjork.

But Diaz-Jogeix said within Russia people are also standing up for the group and going public with their support.
"No matter what the decision is, what I think is important is that the Russian society is mobilizing together with help from international countries such as Canada," he told CTV’s Canada AM.
Prosecutors had asked for three-year sentences for the women, down from the possible seven-year maximum. Putin himself has said he hopes the sentencing is not "too severe."

Lynn Flatley, who has organized a Toronto demonstration in support of the women, said she was inspired to take action after learning about their case.
"I felt it was so wrong on so many levels I felt I had to do something. I had never done anything like this but it was a tipping point for me,” she told Canada AM.


Edited By Cen Fox Post Team
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