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Pussy Riot Members Sue Russia In European Human Rights Court - ArtLyst Article image

Pussy Riot Members Sue Russia In European Human Rights Court

29-07-2014
 
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Two of the Art-Punk band Pussy Riot members jailed for hooliganism are suing the Russian government over their imprisonment for a protest in a Moscow cathedral. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova have stated that their trial and subsequent imprisonment amounted to torture.

The case has been filed at the European Court of Human Rights, seeking compensation of £95,000 each in damages, plus 10,000 euros (£8,000) court costs. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova served 21 months in detention. Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova two of five Pussy Riot members who performed their Anti-Putin song Mother of God, Drive Putin Out, in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, near the Kremlin. The performance was stopped by staff and police at the cathedral and the pair were arrested along with a third member of the group. Both served 21 months in prison plus pre-trial detention.

Pavel Chikov, the head of the human rights legal group Agora, which is representing Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, says the two women didn’t receive a fair trial in Russia, which is why they’re taking it to the ECHR. "Plus they want this case to set a precedent that Russians can speak publicly on sensitive political issues, even if this speech is not supported by majority,” Chikov told the Guardian. “This is a case about freedom of expression and fair trial first of all." Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova claim that Russia violated four articles of the European convention on human rights guaranteeing the rights to freedom of expression, liberty and security and a fair trial, and prohibiting torture, the Guardian reports.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova will attempt to overturn their criminal conviction in the Russian courts if they win. They’ve also pledged to give away any compensation to human rights organisations.

Photo: Monica Simoes
 


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