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Pussy Riot Charges Illegal

An independent group of experts, the Independent Judicial Expertise Council, has reviewed the case of Pussy Riot, together with the lyrics of the punk anthems they performed in the Orthodox Church, and come to the conclusion that their ongoing incarceration (extended this week for another 30 days despite requests for bail and calls for clemency based on the fact that some of the group’s members have young children) is illegal.  Unfortunately, the report has been released by the President’s very own Human Rights Council, which implies that its conclusions will function as a kind of lip service to democratic and legal process, rather than doing anything to change the situation.

The report says that the accusations of religious hatred and enmity are over the top and inaccurate:

“The actions that Tolokonnikova, Samutsevich and Alekhina are incriminated of are certainly at least reproachable, but they do not constitute criminally prosecutable hooliganism. […] Judging by the lyrics of the song performed, the enmity expressed towards V. V. Putin and V. M. Gundyaev is not religious in nature. Religious hatred in the sense of article 213 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation means hatred towards members of a certain religion precisely because of their religious leanings, an active rejection of religious ideals or an assertion of their own religion, or because of atheistic views. Presenting one’s views in a shocking way does not in and of itself constitute a manifestation of hatred towards the Christian (or any other) religion”.

The Other Russia has the full story.