Friday, August 17, 2012

Pussy Riot found guilty

Russian punk rockers Pussy Riot face two years of jailtime for hooliganism.

Posted by on Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 11:05 AM

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  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
Russian girl punk rockers Pussy Riot were found guilty of hooliganism Friday. The three women were charged with premeditated hooliganism by organized groups of people, motivated by "religious hatred or hostility" said Judge Marina Syrova Friday morning. Pussy Riot was arrested after performing outside an orthodox church in February, they stated the protest was against the Russian Orthodox church leader's support of Putin's leadership. Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, are sentenced to two years in jail.

Radical Canadian femme rocker Peaches wrote Free Pussy Riot, in solidarity with the band. The Knife, Lykke Li, Miike Snow and others joined Peaches in the video.

Peaches made this statement:

"As a musician who has spoken out against political figures, I am deeply troubled that the Russian government is punishing its citizens for voicing their opinions through music. Music is an essential tool for voicing opinions about everything from gender to oppression. To outlaw the free expression of these ideas is to embrace tyranny. Letting artists speak is the hallmark of a free society. I've criticized world leaders in my music before, and I am dismayed that the artists expressing their opinions in Russia today are being harassed by their government. I am appalled that the Russian government is so blatantly abusing its power and punishing citizens for speaking their minds."

We spoke with local I Am Choice and National Organization of Women activist Vivian Taylor, on her reaction to the sentencing.
"My main impression is that it's dangerous to have no separation between church and state," Taylor said. "The church has said Putin's continued election is a miracle from God and any attack on the church is an attack on the leader."

Taylor, who is part of an initiative combating Amendment six in Florida, said America should pay close attention to that separation.
"We need to look at this and beware of getting closer to a church and state theocracy," Taylor said. "The defense denied that Pussy Riot's protest was a political statement, charging the group with simple public disorder instead."

What if the band had been all men instead of all women?
"I do think it would have been different," Taylor said. "The men would have been in jail longer. They went easier on them because two of the women have small children."

Taylor is concerned the lines between church and state are becoming blurred.
"Russia is legislating through a moral lens," Taylor said. "When the international community pays attention, penalties for activists are generally lessened."

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