Friday, August 17, 2012

Pussy Riot Members Sentenced To 2 Years For Anti-Putin Protest; Feminist Rocker JD Samson Responds

Three members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot have been sentenced to two years in prison for staging an anti-Putin protest inside a Russian church. On February 21, members of Pussy Riot rushed before the altar of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior where they danced, genuflected and issued a "punk prayer," exhorting the Virgin Mary to "get Putin out." Their imprisonment for the peaceful protest has sparked a massive outcry around the world, with protests planned today in some three dozen cities. Speaking to Democracy Now, a representative for Pussy Riot’s legal defense team called the case a "political put-up job." "It is impossible to understand for people living in democracy how it is possible to live in a system of disregard of the law," said Alisa Obraztsova, an assistant to the lawyers representing Pussy Riot. "[The] only way is to believe the society, not the government, because there is no common sense in such legal trials and only the society’s reaction may describe the real situation in Russia." Obraztsova said they plan to appeal first in Russia and then to the European Court of Human Rights. As protesters were arrested outside the courthouse in Moscow, we spoke with JD Samson, a punk rock musician with the bands Le Tigre and MEN who has been organizing Pussy Riot solidarity actions in New York City. "As a feminist musician, we’re all interested in freedom of expression. And as artists, we can all stand behind them," Samson says. "Russia clearly has no separation of church and state and this is something that has been definitely important for us to think about." [Transcript to come. Check back soon.]

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