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Pussy Riot To Make Special Appearance At New York Amnesty Concert - ArtLyst Article image

Pussy Riot To Make Special Appearance At New York Amnesty Concert

26-01-2014
 
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Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova the two jailed members of Russian art/punk band Pussy Riot, who were released before Christmas will be appearing as special guests at Amnesty International's human rights concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, on 5 February. They will be joined by the Flaming Lips, Imagine Dragons, Lauryn Hill, Cake, Tegan and Sara for a concert promoting human rights, the organiser said.

The two artist/musicians spent the last 16 months in prison following their arrest in August 2012 for singing a 'Punk' protest song in Moscow's main cathedral. The song was directed at President Vladimir Putin and called for his resignation over corruption and church state complacency.

"A month ago, we were freed from Russian prison camps," Ms Tolokonnikova and Ms Alyokhina said in a joint statement. "We will never forget what it's like to be in prison after a political conviction. We have vowed to continue helping those who remain behind bars." Ms Tolokonnikova called for foreign countries to boycott February's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, hours after she was freed from jail.
Calling the amnesty law that set her free a "cosmetic measure", she and Ms Alyokhina said the prison system needed wider reform and promised to continue anti-government action.

Last month Mr Putin also released Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man and his personal foe, in a move that again was widely seen as an attempt to appease the West. At his Berlin news conference, Khodorkovsky  struck a conciliatory tone, vowing to stay out of politics and saying that he did not feel hatred towards the man who finally pardoned him after more than 10 years in jail.

The Pussy Riot members' have already claimed to 'not go quietly'. Alyokhina's first words after her release were critical of the government, a sign that this fight is likely to get more personal.  Alyokhina, told Russian TV today that her views of President Putin had not changed and that the amnesty was "a profanation" and "a PR exercise".

Tolokonnikova called for reform of Russia's prison system, and said she and Alyokhina would now form a group to engage in the human rights movement. Their sentences were due to finish in March 2014, but their predicted release was widely reported after Russia's parliament passed a new law giving amnesty to some 20,000 prisoners, which including mothers. Both of the women have young children.

Amnesty concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn 5 February 2014


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