APPEAL BY CULTURE AND ART FIGURES OF RUSSIAN FEDERATION
“On 20th of June Moscow’s Tagansky District Court extended the detention of Pussy Riot members. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Ekaterina Samusevich have been held in custody since March this year. They are charged under article 213 (2) of the Criminal Code according to which they can face up to 7 years in prison.
We, signatories of this appeal, have a different evaluation of the moral and ethical aspects of the Pussy Riot members’ February rally in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour:
– We do not believe that the actions of Pussy Riot constitute a criminal offence. The girls did not kill anyone, did not rob anyone, did not use violence and did not destroy or steal anyone’s property. Russia is a secular government and as anti-clerical actions do not fall under the criminal code they cannot be reasons for prosecution;
– We think that the criminal charges against Pussy Riot compromise the Russian judiciary and undermine trust in these institutions as a whole. As the band members remain in custody, an atmosphere of intolerance grows in our society which in turn leads to its further disunity and radicalisation;
– We do not see any legal basis or practical reason for the further isolation of these young women who do not pose any danger to society. Furthermore, three of them are young mothers;
– We are convinced of the necessity to release Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Ekaterina Samusevich from custody and drop charges or to at least downgrade their case from a criminal to administrative offence. ”
This story is from PEN International and can be read in it’s entire at link , http://www.pen-international.org/newsitems/russian-cultural-figures-demand-freedom-for-pussy-riot-band-members/