Pussy Riot Update

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The latest Pussy Riot news…

This week a court in Moscow threw out an appeal from the freed Pussy Riot member, Yekaterina Samutsevich (Katya) against a court ruling from November which had banned videos of their ‘punk prayer’ performance in a Moscow cathedral under counter-extremist laws.

The court judged that the videos contained “images and expressions that were aiming at inciting hatred or enmity and humiliation of persons based on their religion and belong to social institute”.

The decision to uphold the ban was criticised by Amnesty International amongst others, who said “the increasing use of loosely-worded counter-extremist laws to crack down on dissent shows the Russian authorities’ absolute lack of respect for the right to freedom of expression”. Read the full titled “Russian Court upholds ban on ‘extremist’ Pussy Riot videos” on Amnesty’s website HERE.

Amnesty also noted that the court decision seemed to contradict a statement by the Russian Supreme Court in June 2011 that the criticism of public officials and professional politicians, their actions and beliefs in itself should not be regarded as actions aimed at humiliating or degrading a person or a group, since boundaries for criticism of such persons are wider than those of private individuals – although of course the three members of Pussy Riot were put on trial not for criticising Putin or church leaders but for offending the religious sensibilities of the few people present in the cathedral that day.

Also this week the news broke that Nadya Tolokonnikova, who is serving a two year sentence in penal colony IK-14, had been moved to prison hospital on January 24th after suffering severe headaches. Read more about this story on The Guradian’s website HERE.

February 21st is the first anniversary of the ‘punk prayer’ performance, with the three women being arrested a week or two later. Watch this space for news of a London event to mark the anniversary on February 24th.

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