Pussy Riot: Russia Ordered To Pay $55,000 For Human Rights Violations




The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against the Russian Government in the case of Punk/Art activist band Pussy Riot, whose members include Nadya Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina.

They have been ordered to pay $55,000 for the “exceptionally severe” sentencing in the 2014 case which jailed the women. On 4 December the European court rejected the request to overturn the decision. Payment is now due to the activists within three months.

The sentence in the criminal case of Pussy Riot is subject to reversal

The Russian government attempted to overturn the decision for compensation but the Strasbourg court ruled last July that Russia must pay the five-figure sum. The band were arrested in 2012 after a Performance Art piece was halted in Moscow’s central Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The art piece denounced President Vladimir Putin. The European court pointed out that Russia had violated five articles of the European Convention on Human Rights which took place at the time of their arrest and detention.

Pussy Riot At Moscow’s central Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

Pussy Riot At Moscow’s central Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

The Feminist collective were initially sentenced to two years in a Siberian prison for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” Samutsevich was given parole after a few months however the other two women were pardoned in December 2013.

“Masha” Alyokhina tweeted, “There is good news. Learned suddenly that I was made a gift and paid almost half a million penalty issued by the bailiffs after the actions against the FSB… Hurrah!” The FSB are the Russia Federal Security Service.

Pavel Chikov, a human rights lawyer, tweeted “The Russian authorities were denied the right to refer the case to the Grand Chamber. The sentence in the criminal case of Pussy Riot is subject to reversal, compensation of 48,760 euros is to be paid.”

The case filed at the European Court of Human Rights, sought 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 was a case about freedom of expression and fair trial first of all.” Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova claimed 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 have now overturned their criminal conviction but not in the Russian courts. This will come next. They’ve also pledged to give away any compensation to human rights organisations.

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