Russia high court orders review of case against feminist rock group Pussy Riot

[JURIST] The Russian Supreme Court [official website; in Russian] on Friday ordered the review of the case against two members of the feminist rock group Pussy Riot [RASPI backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Band members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred in August 2012 and sentenced to two years in prison in connection with the groups protest in the Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. A third member of Pussy Riot, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was also sentenced to two years in prison but was released [JURIST report] on probation in October 2012. According to reports, the Supreme Court found [Al Jazeera report] that the lower courts overlooked the women's individual personal circumstances preventing them from receiving more lenient sentences.

The imprisonment of members of Pussy Riot has generated significant international attention. In September Tolokonnikova, launched a hunger strike [JURIST report] in protest of living conditions and death threats from the deputy head of the prison in which she is serving her two-year sentence. In August Samutsevich filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against her former defense lawyer, Violetta Volkova, for making and posting defamatory statements about her in the press and on social networking sites during the trial of other Pussy Riot members. A month prior, a regional court in Russia denied an appeal [JURIST report] by Pussy Riot member Maria Alekhina. Alekhina and Tolokonnikova [JURIST reports] had their paroles denied in May. The Pussy Riot case has generated much criticism and debate [JURIST op-eds] among scholars.

 

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