Daily Archives: July 4, 2012

Moscow Court Steamrolls Pussy Riot Defendants Towards Inevitable Guilty Verdict

Jailed Pussy Riot Member Declares Hunger Strike
04 July 2012
The Moscow Times

Pussy Riot rocker Nadezhda Tolokonnikova declared a hunger strike Wednesday, minutes after a Moscow court ruled that she must finish preparing her defense by July 9.

Tolokonnikova said the ruling leaves her insufficient time to read through prosecutors’ accusations and that the hunger strike was a form of protest against the court’s decision, Interfax reported.

The 23-year-old suspect still has five “books” of accusations left to read, the news agency added. Her lawyer Mark Feigin had requested until Sept. 1 to review the case materials.

The Tagansky District Court is due to pass verdict on two other band members Wednesday afternoon. Prosecutors have charged all three with hooliganism, which carries a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment.

The charges relate to a February performance in Christ the Savior Cathedral at which the female punk group sang an anti-government song called “Mother of God, Cast Putin Out!”

Outside the courtroom, more than 100 Pussy Riot supporters and journalists gathered, whistling and shouting “Shame!” RIA-Novosti reported.

Police detained at least six protesters, including three who had chained themselves into metal cages, an apparent reference to the fact that suspects in Russian court cases await judges’ verdicts from metal cages.

The Pussy Riot case has caused a storm of controversy since the women’s detention in March.

On June 27, 103 Russian cultural figures, including actress and charity figure Chulpan Khamatova and Soviet-era director Mark Zakharov, wrote an open letter to the Supreme Court arguing that the band members had not committed a criminal offense.

“We see no legal basis or practical reason for the further isolation of these young women, who do not pose any real danger to society,” the letter said.

International musicians, including Beastie Boys member Adam Horowitz and Californian rock group Faith No More, have added their voice to efforts to secure the women’s release.


Filed under political repression, Russian society

May 6 Committee: Stop the Crackdown on the Opposition in Russia!

Call for an International Day of Action on July 26

The protest demonstration that took place on May 6, 2012, in Moscow was one of the most massive and assertive during the past several months. Despite pressure from the authorities and societal depression after Vladimir Putin’s alleged election victory, ten of thousands of people took to the streets of Russia’s capital. The May 6 demonstration showed that the protest wave that rose in December 2011 had not only not subsided, but had taken on a new impetus and a new, more radical and decisive direction.

The most striking outcome of this legal, peaceful march was the harsh detention of more than 600 people. Police assaulted an even greater number of marchers.

The fact that the actions of police were illegal is borne out by a large number of photos, videos, eyewitness accounts, and medical examinations. However, despite numerous appeals by citizens and human rights advocates to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, the Russian Investigative Committee and other bodies, not a single criminal case on abuse of power by police officers or obstruction of a legal mass event has been initiated.

On the contrary, the authorities have used the events of May 6 to launch an unprecedented crackdown on the Russian opposition. During May and June, twelve people were arrested as part of an ongoing criminal investigation of the “riots,” and two more people were placed under house arrest. All fourteen people have been charged with organizing and participating in mass riots, and violence against police officers.

Their names are Vladimir Akimenkov, Oleg Arkhipenkov, Andrei Barabanov, Maria Baronova, Fyodor Bakhov, Yaroslav Belousov, Alexandra Dukhanina, Stepan Zimin, Alexander Kamensky, Mikhail Kosenko, Maxim Luzyanin, Denis Lutskevich, Artyom Savyolov and Rikhard Sobolev.

There is no doubt that the authorities are now fabricating the most massive political case in recent years. Thus, according to the Investigative Committee, 160 investigators are working on the case, and more than 1,250 people have been questioned so far. The number of detainees could rise, according to certain sources, to several hundred people.

Only concerted action by thousands of concerned people around the world can stop this from happening!

The May 6 Committee has now been launched in Moscow: this grassroots initiative demands an end to the crackdown and closure of this shameful “criminal case.” The committee’s activists, who represent various human rights, civic and political organizations, are in constant contact with the lawyers of the accused, have launched a public awareness campaign, and are organizing protests against this political crackdown.

We are calling for an International Day of Action on July 26. We appeal to human rights organizations and progressive groups around the world: the fate of dozens of innocent, peaceful protesters, people already in prison or who soon might find themselves there, depends on your solidarity and your active stance. Distribute information about the case, hold rallies and solidarity concerts, picket Russian embassies and consulates in your cities and countries, and send letters and petitions to Russian authorities. The future of the new protest movement in Russia now depends on whether we are able to stop this crackdown by the authorities.


For more information or to contact us:

Telephone: +7 926 305-2823
Web site: www.6may.org
E-mail: help6may@gmail.com
Live Journal blog: 6mayorg.livejournal.com
Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Комитет-6-мая/336195009792710
Vkontakte: vk.com/6mayorg

Leave a comment

Filed under activism, open letters, manifestos, appeals, political repression, protests, Russian society