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Pussy Riot nominated for Sakharov Prize

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Pussy Riot nominated for Sakharov Prize

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Jailed Russian punk band Pussy Riot has been nominated for the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov prize.

Last month, the three group members were sentenced to two years in prison after their anti-Putin protest song inside Moscow’s Christ the Saviour cathedral in February. They were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.

The man behind the nomination, Green MEP Werner Schulz, said: ‘‘These young women have shone a light on and protested against an autocratic system with courage, creativity and inner force. They have embarrassed a patriarchal power and they have exposed judicial arbitrariness.’‘

In total, MEPs announced five nominees, which included human rights activist Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, Joseph Francis, and three members of Rwanda’s opposition.

Two Iranian democracy campaigners were also nominated, notably film director Jafar Panahi and Nasrin Sotoudeh. The award for this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought will be made later this year in Strasbourg on 12 December.