August 16, 2012 5:55am PT by Erin Carlson
Paul McCartney Pledges Support for Jailed Russian Punk Rockers Pussy Riot
Paul McCartney is pledging support for Pussy Riot, the Russian all-girl punk trio facing up to seven years in prison for "hooliganism."
The legendary singer-songwriter joins such artists as Madonna and Bjork in urging Russia to free the rockers -- Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 -- who were arrested last March for performing an anti-government "punk prayer" inside the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. The women have been jailed since on charges of "hooliganism," and a verdict in their case will be announced Friday.
"I'm writing to show my support for you at this difficult time," McCartney wrote in a letter posted on Twitter Thursday morning. "I would like you to know that I very much hope the Russian authorities would support the principle of free speech for all their citizens and not feel that they have to punish you for your protest. Many people in the civilized world are allowed to voice their opinions and as long as they do not hurt anyone in doing so I believe this is the best way forward for all societies."
He continued: "I hope you can stay strong and believe that I and many others like me who believe in free speech will do everything in our power to support you and the idea of artistic freedom."
McCartney recently performed at the London Olympics opening ceremony, earning $1.57 for his services.