Pussy Riot needs your support - text and stand up for free speech
Russian punk band Pussy Riot, photographed in January 2012 Russian punk band Pussy Riot, photographed in January 2012 © Игорь Мухин

17 August 2012 - Two-year sentence announced. This action is now closed. 
Nadezhda, Maria and Ekaterina have been sentenced two years service in a penal colony, after Moscow City Court found them guilty of 'hooliganism on grounds of religious hatred'.
We believe the three women are victims of a persecution campaign designed by Russian authorities to trample free speech. We will not stop campaigning for Pussy Riot. Please let them know their fight for free speech is not in vain: send your message of support to Pussy Riot

Detained for 'hooliganism'

Nadezhda, Maria and Ekaterina, three alleged members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot, were put on trial on 30 July 2012 on charges of for 'hooliganism'. Their crime? Performing a gig in a church.

They have been held in Moscow police cells since their arrest in March, denied access to their families – including their young children. In July, the Moscow City Court ruled to extend their detention by another six months on the grounds that the women committed a serious crime, and may abscond if granted bail.

Pussy Riot's 'punk prayer' and anarchist lyrics might not be everyone's cup of tea, but the Russian authorities' enthusiasm to silence, harass and detain the women is an indisputable violation of their right to free speech.

We believe that Nadezhda, Maria and Ekaterina are prisoners of conscience, and are calling for their immediate release. Find out more about Pussy Riot

Want to help show the Russian authorities that we won't stand for their targeted and unsubstantiated detention of the three young women? You're in the right place.

Text for free speech straight from your mobile

Don't let Pussy Riot's campaign for free speech be in vain. Show Nadezhda, Maria and Ekaterina that the world is watching, by texting them your message of support.

Text ACTION22, followed by your message of support and your name to 88080

Under 18? So that we can ensure you receive appropriate communications, please include your date of birth in the following format: DD/MM/YYYY (e.g. ACTION7 Joe Bloggs 01/01/1900).

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What happens to your text?

Take action by text and we’ll add your name, but not your phone number, to the letter below which we’ll fax to Moscow authorities overseeing the women's detention.

The message we'll send on your behalf

I am writing to you to ask you to drop the charges of hooliganism against Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and immediately and unconditionally release them.

I believe that Maria, Ekaterina and Nadezhda have been detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression, and as such are prisoners of conscience. It is your duty to respect free speech and comply with international human rights law by releasing them immediately and unconditionally.

I also request that you promptly, fully and impartially investigate the allegations that the three arrested women have been pressured by members of the Centre of the Fight with Extremism and other officials.

Prefer to write your own letter?

Contact details for the Moscow officials overseeing the case are listed in the Pussy Riot casesheet PDF at the very bottom of this post.

Pussy Riot - the backstory

Why are Nadezhda, Maria and Ekaterina awaiting a trial that could see them serving prison sentences of up to seven years?

Quite simply, this:

The three women, all in their twenties, are alleged to have donned neon balaclavas and performed as part of Pussy Riot at this gig in February. But they are allegations only - Pussy Riot is a collective identity; the need for the women to cover their faces indicative of the hostile treatment they've received from Moscow's authorities.

In Pussy Riot's own words:

"one of the reasons we choose to always wear balaclavas [is that] new members can join the bunch and it does not really matter who takes part in the next act - there can be three of us or eight, like in our last gig on the Red Square, or even 15."

Since the band came together in September last year, Pussy Riot has performed impromptu gigs in public places ranging from Moscow buses and Metro stations, to the symbolic Red Square. But it was their February performance of 'Virgin Mary, redeem us of Putin' in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral that led to their arrest. The song calls on the Virgin Mother to embrace feminism, shun Putin, and cut ties between the state and the church.

Whether or not they push your musical buttons, it's indisputable that Pussy Riot - as a collective, or any number of individuals - has a legitimate right to freely criticise its government. International human rights law absolutely outlaws restrictions on free speech when they are based purely on the notion that others may find the content offensive - regardless of the beat behind the message, or where it's played.

Downloads

application/pdf iconPussy Riot casesheet June 2012

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"International human rights law absolutely outlaws restrictions on free speech when they are based purely on the notion that others may find the content offensive"

Not true. See Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000

Offensiveness can be a public order illegality in the UK.

Now shall we come along to Amnesty's offices and homes unannounced with boom boxes loaded with something suitably cacophonic?

"it does not really matter who takes part in the next act" confirms that this group are not musicians but glory seekers.

Amnesty should not support rudeness and anti-social behaviour. These "punks" should demonstrate in public and not in a private religious place.

Oh I am a very liberal anti-Blair anti-Thatcher British citizen but draw the line at anti-social behaviour.

I really don't understand why Amnesty International are supporting this as a priority. There are many people around the world who are victims of a shoddy justice system but why choose a group of girls who have such a shady connection in Russia? Their background is pretty much to disrupt and attack the freedoms of other people simply because, they believe they know better? How and in what way is that appropriate.

It was hardly a peaceful protest. The web email said it was a peaceful protest in a church? Really? If I went into someone's home or the streets and kicked things over and started making a noise and damaged things, is that really peaceful? If people were shocked by me attacking their rights, is that peaceful? The concept of peaceful appears to be amplified here to abrasion of many people's senses. They can criticise their government - they should not have the right to criticise and attack anybody else. A church is not what was at wrong here - it was a few people who allegedly, supposedly support putin. They should go to them. It's like attacking muslims for the actions of about 2 or 3 people. Is this what Amnesty International are supporting now?

The simple question is Amnesty, yes they have "human rights" but what about the human rights they attacked and left them in jail. They are a group of people and part of a collective that have done a great many disruptive things to the public, not to mention the acts of releasing cockroaches and attacking people and vandalising... then attacking a church which is an important part of someone's culture - yes, a prison sentence was coming. The length of it, yes can be questionable but seriously, this looks like selective reasoning.

Selective reasoning because, how many prison sentences are you going to address after this as human rights violations? Should they have been sent to jail? I think it seems reasonable considering the attacks they have made on the "human rights" of the general public.

How long? Well if Amnesty has a problem with the judicial system in Russia - let's address that. Let's not promote a band looking for a record deal and all the political hoopla attached to this which aids people with money out there while we're trying to aid those with truly pernicious acts of human rights violation.

Seems to me their are a few points being missed during the course of this thread:
As far as I'am aware; Catholic church means - The peoples church.
According to Catholic belief - a priest always speaks to you with the direct word of god, (not sure how Catholics reconcile that with the recently "proved according to law" child abuse cases here in the UK, or the Catholic churches cover up moves to try and prevent evidence emerging, which were revealed during the course of them).
I can't understand Russian but as far as I can see from the You Tube clip, a group of young women peacefully entered their church and offered a prayer, according to their chosen format, concerning the Russian government. I'am sure far stronger prayers have been offered against the government, albeit in hushed voices and whispers.
I would have thought the church would have welcomed such young new dynamic vibrant worshipers.
As has been said by others, high time to laugh Putin and the church officials out of office before anyone takes them to seriously.
So I applaud Pussy Riot for their courage in making such a prayer publicly, within the refuge(?) of their own church.
Maybe a naive way to make such a statement possibly, but seven years in gaol - must be that the government and church have such delicate ego's and cannot justify the power they wield.
FREE PUSSY RIOT.

Re: Erica Blair's remarks on the Sex Pistols
They might well have invaded the alter at St. Paul's had the Church of England aligned itself specifically with a political party (and a deeply oppresive one at that), as the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox church (ROC) has done and this was Pussy Riot's whole point. The ROC should be non-partisan and remain aloof from politics, except to stand up for the down-trodden, and they forfeited the right to expect their premises to be respected when they entered the political arena in this way (telling their congregation to vote for Putin) and the state merely proved Pussy Riot's point by disingenuously equating "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" with "hooliganism motivated by Putin hatred". Much though Putin imagines it to be true, the two are NOT the same thing, not even down the barrel of a gun. His posing bare-chested on horseback, his unapologetic arming of the psychopath Bashar Al-Assad and now his messiah-complex are just some reasons why most people in the west think he's a dickhead.

What invading Churches? How is that freedom of speech? They were simply looking for publicity and they got it. That is why they were giggling at sentencing. Serious people do not do this.

Just sent this to the prosecutors:

Dear Prosecutor,Prosecutor General, Your Excellency Mr Alexander Yakovenko,

Surely you must all realise it is time that your country stood up against the elitist dictatorship represented by Alexander Putin and his supporters that only serves to perpetuate his desire for power and control.

I have been to your country twice and was always delighted to meet the true Russians who respond with genuine warmth and friendship. However, I have also been shocked at the level of corruption and misuse of power that is displayed so blatantly by your politicians and services.

This is a chance for you to show that Russia can change and take control of its own destiny.

Your leaders have failed many other countries by their lack of leadership and selfish denial - don't let them let you down too.

'Do you understand what amnesty international stands for? The legality or illegality of an action is irrelevant. '

I agree with you. It would appear that is the case, however as far as the UN is concerned that is certainly not the case. So, my request was for Amnesty to desist from invoking the ICCPR.

Amnesty now seem to be desisting.

Which is fine.

Gregory

The claims by Amnesty, the 'performance' was protected speech under the ICCPR, is completely untrue.

That is my primary point in relation to Amnesty's position, and it is interesting to note, that Amnesty have stopped making the claim. It was a preposterous assertion.

What the band did, is a crime in every country in the European Union. Such laws are also necessary. one can't have right-wing or neo-Nazis demonstrators invading Jewish temples etc.

Also with the Free Syrian Army's tidal wave of torturing and executing of prisoners, I would urge amnesty to attend to crisis issues, rather publicity stunts orchestrated by outside agencies to upset Putin and the Orthodox Church.

I would like amnesty to desist from spending so much effort on bogus issues, there are no ICCPR or protected speech issues with this particular incident.

Meanwhile in Syria, the FSA are turning every school into a murder ground for the elimination of captured Alawi and Christians.

So, a quick call for leniency would suffice re Pussy Riot. There are no ICCPR issues at stake in the Pussy riot case, it is a fake issue being boiled over for cheap tacky publicity.

If anyone needs an informed view of the case, this is worth reading

http://mercouris.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/pussy-riot-2/

Just to remind everyone, please respect Amnesty's house rules when posting.

We want our blogs to be open to polite, constructive debate, and we will delete personal attacks or repeated, aggressive posting of the same points by one author.

The Sex Pistols were arrested on a boat in The Thames. They did not invade the altar of Saint Pauls - nor would they ever even consider such a thing.

There is such a thing as freedom of speech, but there is also freedom of religion and you are not practising the former by attacking the latter.

Would you support the BNP invading a synagogue or the EDL invading a mosque? Why is an Orthodox Cathedral not allowed the same protection? I'm an atheist, but I can imagine much a stunt like this could upset someone offering prayers for a loved one.

A place of religion is not a public place. It is a place of worship where the public are admitted as long as they respect this fact.

Pussy Riot could have protested in a public place and been ignored as usual, but they chose a cathedral in a cynical move to get more publicity. If they don't like the consequences, tough.

Gregory Carlin's Putinist cheerleading infests virtually every Amnesty comment thread regarding Russia. (Doesn't Amnesty have anyone to keep a watch out for totalitarian hijacking the site to spread their vile propaganda?) He says this blog is "unacceptable" and a "disgrace" (to a Putinist, of course it would be) yet he seems to spend an awful lot of time contributing to it, like those old farts who would complain about how much sex there is on tv and spent hundreds of hours watching it, just to make sure. In fact, one wonders what anyone with his views is doing on this site at all, if not for propaganda purposes. So, Maggie Wright is right(!) to be alarmed at views such as his and Erica Blair's being on the AI site at all. It HAS "been hijacked by strangers"!
And props to Mr. litesp33d1 and Christopher Hervet for pointing out that such people are not real Christians and are the worst kind of hypocrites. Their attitudes are stuck in the 1970s and are redolent of the straight world's hostility towards Punk back then and makes me think Pussy Riot must be doing an awful lot right if they're touching such a nerve with such people! And, by the way,since litesp33d1's comment about Carlin's "irrational mental status", he (Carlin) has been conspicuously silent. Nice one, sp33dy!

[This comment has been moderated to meet our house rules]

Gregory Carlin - Do you understand what amnesty international stands for? The legality or illegality of an action is irrelevant. Most of the people I have campaigned for had committed illegal acts in their countries and some of them would be considered illegal in the UK too. I assume you would have attacked the suffragettes for their illegal actions if you had been around then. Most of our freedoms, rights and protections have been won by someone - not you obviously - taking a stand and breaking the law. If you can't get your head around this simple fact, then I'd suggest that amnesty is not the place for you.

And, some comments written here remind me why I do not like any religion at all. I was born in a very Catholic country. What can I say: the pluralism of opinions do not exist, women are treated as the second-class citizens, homosexuals are compared to paedophiles, animal do not have any respect in my religious country. It is very sad; people who are believers do not have any problem with the horrible treatment of those young girls by the police. But they feel insulted by the fact that the girls organised some small concert in the place that has got only some symbolic character.. I remember my friend who told me (I am an atheist, secular humanist) a couple years ago; that atheists represent more understanding, tolerance, humanity and Christian values that many believers....

Going to church and singing the song that is not insulting or rude, only has got some political aspect is not a crime at all. It is only the freedom of speech. What's more: anyone should be able to express their opinion about current political situation or some social problems at school, streets, or even at church. Considering the political and historical aspect of Russia, I am very impressed by the bravery of those Girls. I hope that more people will protect them.

This is profoundly dishonest. I notice that the message Amnesty offers to write for unthinking people contains the words 'I believe'. I'd say these two words should never be part of any petition.
This is also profoundly dishonest:
'Performing a gig in a church.'

They didn't perform a gig: they shouted abuse from near the alter. They weren't invited, they didn't play instruments, they just abused the people present.

I'm also curious about this:
'International human rights law absolutely outlaws restrictions on free speech when they are based purely on the notion that others may find the content offensive - regardless of the beat behind the message, or where it's played.'

Which 'international human rights law'? And does it really not matter 'where it's played'? The KKK could invade a black church and spread racist abuse for instance? That's a human right?

'Wow, I didn't expect to see arguments like these against PR. Has AI been hijacked by strangers?'

It's called debate.

' they may have 'insulted' a few people who hold to a belief system that is purely their own'

More than a few.

'but surely what is really at stake is the connection between church and state - that connection that has held back true freedom and progress for hundreds of years all over the world.'

I think you'll find there's a state religion in the UK. And has been for 'hundreds of years' - how free are we?

'If a religion can't stand up to criticism, however unpleasant, then it isn't worth adhering to.'

If they wanted to criticise, they didn't need to invade a cathedral. There are opposition demonstrations all the time in Russia - usually led by the Communist Party. Somehow they manage to keep to the streets.

'Try reading Giles Fraser's piece in Saturday's Guardian newspaper.'

I did. It was nonsense.

If you can't do the time - don't do the crime.

Wow, I didn't expect to see arguments like these against PR. Has AI been hijacked by strangers? Perhaps it's because I don't go on the comments sites much. Try to have longer memories - they may have 'insulted' a few people who hold to a belief system that is purely their own, but surely what is really at stake is the connection between church and state - that connection that has held back true freedom and progress for hundreds of years all over the world. If a religion can't stand up to criticism, however unpleasant, then it isn't worth adhering to. Try reading Giles Fraser's piece in Saturday's Guardian newpaper.

Talentless exhibitionists get arrested for doing something which get you arreseted in most western countries - try it in the cathedral in Florence and find out what the Italian police think of such actions.

They won't get seven years, the prosecution have asked for three years with the expectation that it will be much less.

Shouting obscenities in a place of worship is not exercising free speech, it is an abuse of free speech. Amnesty would not support the BNP or EDL doing anything similar in a mosque or synagogue.

Pussy Riot do not need my support, they need to grow up.

I'm from Russia and will express impression of an average man. But their act is no more than scurvy trick on church performed by some group of girls pretty much unknown before that (as a punk rock band). Such act is a subject of prosecution by Russian law. And there is little politics (or any special ideology) in it, that is why they are no prisoners of conscience. So everything is simple: they must respond for their dids. And if young mother decides to do something against the law it's her responsibility.

litesp33d1, Regrettably people usually described as "Fundamentalist Christians" often fundamentally aren't Christians. There is a disregard for Jesus words and while the New Testament isn't history or reportage there is probably a real sense of the man.
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." —John 13:34-35
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"—Matt 5:44
These messages get lost when the hierarchy of a church is entwined with the state or with other powerful forces e.g. a preoccupation with personal wealth and power. Were it not for the relationship between the Church and Putin then why would Pussy Riot make their protest there? Contrary to Patriarch Kirill's words the women of Pussy Riot clearly aren't being judged by God but by the Patriarch and Putin. I call on the Patriarch to "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven."—Luke 6:37.
Gregory, why would God be more present in a Church or Stonehenge than in Aleppo or the Niger Delta? Whether there is a God or not then why would one not behave with active good will towards other humans?

So what if they called the Patriarch a bitch? It was a legitimate protest against two of the most powerful institutions in Russia. Just because it took place in a church doesn't make it worse than if it had happened anywhere else. We need to stop thinking that religion holds a lofty position any longer.

Wow! Gregory Carlin has really got a bug up his butt about this matter. Statements like 'disrupting church services is a loathsome activity' suggests a somewhat irrational mental status possibly fundamentalist christian.

Why couldn't Christians really take the moral high ground and said something like that 'We find the actions of the band offensive to our particular religion however no one has been physically injured by this and Jesus would have wanted us to turn the other cheek and maybe improve our security for unwanted activities within the church buildings. Maybe we could get together with the girls and arrange a concert and use the proceeds from it to feed the needy'

What a PR coup that could have been. Instead like all religions they make themselves into bigger pariahs than they obviously are. If they really believed in what they preach and God was offended would you not have expected a supreme being to do his own smiting instead of petty humans carrying this out for him.

the way you present this is not right.
it was not a gig, that makes it sound like it was an arranged event where they were invited. they entered the church while it was in use and performed in such a way that it would cause maximum offence to the people already there, this is not about free speech, what about the rights to the people already there to carry out their religious acts without others abusing them?
It saddens me how you are wrapping this up as it does you no favours, I support Amnesty usually and if you are saying that to be imprisoned without access to family and especially children, yes, I sign up to that, they had performed many times before and as a collective could continue performing, the reason they were arrested this time was because of the location and the offence caused to many ordinary Russians.
They have recognised they shouldn't have done what they did by their recent comments so they should accept a punishment, now we can argue that the punishment is to severer but please sort this out and stop misleading people.

It is like during a service at your local church or at Stone henge if you are a druid and a bunch or people come in and take over and sing a song that you find abusive. That is not free speech it is an abuse of others...

you should be supporting their punishment for the abuse of others right to religious freedom to worship and then arguing that the punishment was way to severe

My view is that free speech is indivisable. There may be worse human rights abuses elsewhere. Indeed there are. But to lock up these people for several years because of what they did is just wrong. I don't understand why it is worse because their action took place in a church. There wasn't even a service going on. Some people believe there is some truth in what religions propagate, some don't. The Pussy Riot should be freed. Free Pussy Riot.

My view is that free speech is indivisable. There may be worse human rights abuses elsewhere. Indeed there are. But to lock up these people for several years because of what they did is just wrong. I don't understand why it is worse because their action took place in a church. There wasn't even a service going on. Some people believe there is some truth in what religions propagate, some don't. The Pussy Riot should be freed. Free Pussy Riot.

Whatever, if they were Iranian pilgrims in Syria, imprisoned by the Free Syrian Army, or one of the Free Syrian Armies :o) they would be in far more trouble.

Amnesty should worry more about prisoners in Turkey, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia or Syria.

The markets of Turkey are flooded with antique artifacts and treasures stolen from Syria, why should anybody care about a foul mouthed punk band in Moscow?

the new repressive powers Putin pushed through parliament (!) mean totalitarianism is just a stone's throw away. The iron curtain may have gone but the iron fist is there for all to see

The Patriarch was involved by Pussy Riot, they called him 'a bitch' from the sacred area of a Russian cathedral.

Patriarch Kirill's personal involvement is deeply disturbing and as a practising Christian I don't recognise that his actions are motivated by any of our fundamental beliefs. Mercy and love are the principal qualities of Godhead - I don't see any mercy or love in caging these women and allegedly depriving them of sleep and food. It seems rather the misogyny formed from the Bronze Age myths of the Old Testament. Extreme punishment for "disrespect" is the response of gangsters.

The Soviets destroyed a Cathedral on the same site, does that answer your question?

My complaint is that Amnesty should not be misrepresenting the nature or purpose of human rights treaties, as it make it more difficult for mainstream human rights practitioners.

Many Russians are of a view the affair was orchestrated via the west, and there is considerable evidence to support that belief.

Yo Greggers, Phew I'm glad you cleared that up. I got the right wrong end of the USSR human rights record stick. If only today's Russia was more like it used to be, Pussy Riot would be much better off. Cheers.

The Patriarch was personally insulted by Pussy Riot, they stormed into the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and said the Patriarch was "a bitch". How Amnesty can describe such behavior as 'legitimate' or protected by the ICCPR is impossible to understand.

It clearly meets the criteria of hate crime by the British understanding of the term, in Britain people have went to prison, lost their jobs, or been banned from public office for far less than what transpired in Moscow.

Kevin

The Soviet Union was a bit like Amnesty International. Just because an agency claims X doesn't make X true.

Anna's claims about the ICCPR and the legitimacy of the protest are a falsehood, not even close to the truth.

Gregory

The activity is illegal everywhere in the EU, and as we can see also in Russia,

"Disruption of church services is not a crime under the Russian Criminal Code"

Anna from Amnesty may obfuscate insipidly about there not being a specific law about punk bands disrupting devotions in a cathedral, but that is neither here nor there, the activity is still criminalized. If Britain did not have specific legislation, the charge would be of the public order variety.

"The three singers are being tried for making a legitimate protest, which is not a criminal offence."

The activity is illegal in every single EU country and if it were otherwise, Nazis for e.g. could legitimately demonstrate in other places of worship, Jewish temples for example.

I can assure readers of this blog, contrary to Anna's preposterous claims, the ICCPR, doesn't not afford rights to demonstrate in Russian cathedrals.

This blog is dishonest and disrespectful to those of us who spent decades working for ICCPR ratification.

Amnesty are seeking the reflected publicity. There are no free speech issues, the protest was not legitimate, it was hate crime, and hooliganism. There were victims and because one has complaining victims, there were arrests. The victims of hate crime have rights.

Hi Greggers, was it while you were working for the USSR that you became so knowledegable about human rights. The USSR were well known for their respect of human rights I recall.

The Patriarch was referred to as 'a bitch' in his own Cathedral.

I was once a cultural adviser to the Soviet Union in relation to the arts, bringing eastern bloc artists to the west, I understand what was preformed in the cathedral, and it is surely hate crime and there were of course victims present.

There are no ICCPR or free speech issues at stake here and Amnesty is deliberately misleading people on that issue. That warrants a complaint to the UN because it makes treaty ratification more difficult. Your organization is not very honest, and sets a bad example to young people.

Let's to respect humain _Rights!

@Gregory Carlin
Why is Amnesty working on this case? Because Pussy Riot dared to attack the two pillars of modern Russian establishment - the Kremlin and those Orthodox Church higher officials who support the Kremlin - and some of its members are being severly punished for speaking out. The three singers are being tried for making a legitimate protest, which is not a criminal offence.

Disruption of church services is not a crime under the Russian Criminal Code and this is not what they are charged with. There were no services taking place when the women performed their gig.

And while many may have found Pussy Riot's act offensive, the sentence of up to seven years in prison on the charges of hooliganism is wildly out of all proportion.

@annahamburg Hello. I'm afraid you can only text from the UK - but there is an email and postal address for the Moscow authorities overseeing the trial in this casesheet, so feel free to contact them directly: http://www2.amnesty.org.uk/sites/default/files/pussy_riot_ua_26_june.pdf
Our German colleagues are also campaigning on behalf of Pussy Riot (it's the same info in the casesheet): http://www.amnesty.de/urgent-action/ua-122-2012-3/prozessbeginn

From one Anna to another - thanks for your support!

This blog article is a disgrace, disrupting church services is a loathsome activity and nowhere in the EU, USA or Russian federation is it other than a crime. Claims that the activity is protected by the ICCPR a deception on the part of Amnesty International. I am going to be writing to the Human Rights Committee with a screenshot.

'All Russian citizens ought to be protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as the Constitution of the Russian Federation - which explicitly prohibits discrimination and guarantees the right to freedom of expression.'

The ICCPR protects the people attending to their devotions, not to the culprits or criminals disrupting the protected activity (religion). By prosecuting hate crime, the Russians are defending the principles of the ICCPR.

Hi, is the text number for UK only? I am from Germany and would like to sign the petition as well
Thanks
Anna

How are human rights defined? There are quite simply no ICCPR issues here. If neo-Nazis had demonstrated similarly there would ( quite rightly) also be no free speech issues with that hypothetical example either. Disrupting the religious devotions of Christians in a church, is universally illegal across the entire European Union and also in Russia. Amnesty is trying to proselytize that there are ICCPR or free speech issues here, and that is nonsense, it is categorically untrue.

Dear Gregory

There is no doubt that human rights are being abused also by governments in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Why you think this fact should serve an excuse for the Russian justice system seems to make little sense to me. Protesting against the disproportional reaction of the Russian justice system doas not mean that there are no issues in the UK or EU. This is not a dipute between countries but between those of us that believe that and action such as the performance by Pussy Riot doas not constitues an offence serious enough to lock someone up for an extensive period of time and a system that misuses its laws to do so. The Disproportionate reaction of the Russian justice system doas not exude sovereignty and strength but rather gives the impression of being driven by fear.

The three women had their first hearing today, where it was decided that they should be held in pre-trial custody for another six months, until January 2013. Very disappointing news: http://www2.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/campaigns/russian-authorities-should-im...

By the way, they are not being prosecuted for their political opinions, they are being prosecuted for the anti-clerical action conceded and described as such in the Amnesty press release.

Anna,

The title of the blog post is - 'Pussy Riot needs your support - text and stand up for free speech' and I was merely pointing out that the activity is not free speech in any part of the European Union. It is a crime, the length and breadth of the EU. The ICCPR doesn't give anybody the right to do what they did.

If it did, one could have the far right & neo-Nazis demonstrating inside Synagogues, or Mosques, which thankfully is illegal.

This blog is an embarrassment, I remember the days of long ago when Amnesty International had the odd person here and there who'd been to law school.

The ICCPR doesn't okay hijacking cathedrals, mosques, synagogues, & etc. There are no freedom of speech issues here.

http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld200203/ldselect/l...

The activity will always be illegal.

Best regards

Gregory

Gregory, we agree that Pussy Riot's performances could offend some individuals, but this doesn't justify their arrest and continued detention (the three women have been held without charge and refused bail for six months now). All Russian citizens ought to be protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as the Constitution of the Russian Federation - which explicitly prohibits discrimination and guarantees the right to freedom of expression.

Russian authorities must respect these international human rights standards, which are designed to strike a balance between respecting the rights of others, while protecting free speech. Hate speech (national, racial or religious slander that incites discrimination, hostility or violence) should be prohibited in a proportionate manner - but, at the same time, international human rights laws don't permit the restriction of freedom of expression simply on the grounds that others find the content offensive, or because authorities claim it poses a risk to public order.

It's a fine balance, but in Pussy Riot's case, we maintain that their rights have been curtailed, rather than the other way around. There's more info on why at http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=20047

Nickula, I am very glad a billionaire is supporting them.

Nobody e.g ordinary people, are protesting in the streets, a few dozen, a hundred tops. So they have zero popular support. What is the penalty for wearing a balaclava at a protest ( in the street) oh say in the United Kingdom, ... in Belfast for e.g? I

t is fairly clear that many of their supporters are motivated by a hatred of, or opposition to organized religion, so it isn't free speech, it is a hate crime. The important word being 'crime'. They disrupted the religious devotions of ordinary people, and that's unambiguously illegal.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/nick-revell/pussy-riot-threat-to-god_b_1...

The core supporters of PD in Russia are less than a hundred. They are a western celebrity outrage anti-religion stunt circus. However, if they did it in the west, UK, Italy or France, they would still be in jail. Because, as I have said, it just isn't free speech, nowhere in the EU is it free speech. Do you understand, it just isn't the thing being claimed, do you want me to list cases country by country? So, wise up, and try to be adult about it.

In reply to Mr Carlin's comments - Peaceful political protest, albeit of a colourful nature, shocking to some, hardly justifies detention without trial, refusal of bail, patent irregularities in the legal process (specifically for example, constant delays in the trial date) and a likely 7-year jail sentence.
It is not true to say Pussy Riot have no support in Russia: prominent supporters include Alexander Lebedev and Dmitry Muratov and 51 others who appeared at Monday's hearing. Other supporters include opposition leader Ilya Yashin, the writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya, and actress Chulpan Khamatova and skater Yegeny Plyushenko, both of whom supported Putin's presidential campaign. The Russian Orthodox Priest Ivan Okhlobystin has called on Patriarch Kirill to support Pussy Riot's release.

Hi deppty, our case sheet has addresses that you can send a letter to but unfortunately our SMS network is for UK residents only. Depending where you live, your local Amnesty may run a similar network.

This blog is unacceptable, I suggest you review the comments.

Please see my article on Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/../../nick-revell/pussy-riot-threat-to-g...

plase... some messages will come from out uk.. write contact number complete ..or other contact numbers from different countries..

It is not free speech, invading church premises to cause disruption is also a crime in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy & etc. PR have no support in Russia, not even with the opposition. What about the old people attending to their devotions who were left stunned and shocked? Amnesty should not be endorsing criminal behavior targeting Christian places of worship.

We demand of the immediate release of Russian power
Muawia khater