BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Pussy Riot: two-year sentences 'disproportionate'

Now Reading:

Pussy Riot: two-year sentences 'disproportionate'

Text size Aa Aa

The EU has denounced the two-year jail sentences handed down to the three members of Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Marina Alyokhina, 24 and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30 were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.

EU Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton described the verdicts as “disproportionate” and said she hoped the decision would be “reviewed and reversed”.

The trio’s defence team has 10 days to appeal.

Mark Feigin, a lawyer for one of the women, was blunt in his criticism: “We expected a conviction. This verdict was not taken in the court, nor was it taken by the judge. It comes from above. This conviction is a political decision by the Kremlin, by Vladimir Putin.”

The trio were put on trial after they went into Moscow’s main Cathedral in February and sang an anti-Kremlin song. The lyrics of their so-called “punk prayer” urged the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of President Vladimir Putin.

Human Rights Watch claimed the charges and verdict of hate-motivated hooliganism “distorted both the facts and the law” and called for the women’s immediate release.

Amnesty International said the sentences were a “bitter blow for freedom of expression” in Russia. A spokesman said the decision to impose jail terms – which the organisation also blamed the Kremlin for – “was likely to backfire”.