Pussy Riot are suing Russia

July 29, 2014
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According to the Guardian, two members of feminist punk band Pussy Riot are suing the Russian government over their imprisonment.

Members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are asking for $161,000 each in compensation and $13,437 in court fees. The women are arguing that the prosecution and 21-month prison sentence violated their rights and are taking their claim to the European Court Of Human Rights.

“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 [the] majority,” Pavel Chikov, the head of the legal group representing the women, told the Guardian. “They didn't get [a] fair trial here in Russia so they want to get it finally in the European court of human rights.”

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“People saw them in a glass cage all the time next to police dogs, and the whole thing proved to everyone that they were guilty before they were found guilty by the court,” Chikov said. “The practice in Russia where people are put in glass or metal cages in the courtroom has nothing to do with a fair trial and violates the presumption of innocence.”

In a 35-page response in June, the Russian government called the complaint “obviously unfounded”, arguing that the glass cage is a practice used in other countries and that the imprisonment was a “side-effect” of its desire to protect Russian Orthodox worshippers' freedom of belief.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were convicted of Hooliganism in 2012 but received amnesty and were released in December of 2013.

Written by Matt Crane