Madonna Slams Pussy Riot Guilty Verdict

 

One of Pussy Riot's most vocal celebrity supporters, Madonna has released a statement protesting the Russian punk rocker girl group's conviction on charges of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred."

"I protest the conviction and sentencing of Pussy Riot to a penal colony for two years for a 40 second performance extolling their political opinions," the singer said in a statement Saturday (via Reuters). "Even if one disagrees with the location or how they chose to express themselves, the sentence is too harsh and in fact is inhumane. I call on all those who love freedom to condemn this unjust punishment. I urge artists around the world to speak up in protest against this travesty. They've spent enough time in jail. I call on ALL of Russia to let Pussy Riot go free."

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Despite global outcry and public condemnation from Madonna and Paul McCartney, a Russian court convicted three of the band's members -- Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 -- for reciting a "punk prayer" slamming Russian President Vladimir Putin during a flash performance at a cathedral in February. They were sentenced to two years in jail.

Following Friday's verdict, former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov was among those arrested at a protest in Moscow.

Earlier this month, Madonna showed her support for Pussy Riot at her Moscow concert, appearing onstage with the band's name stenciled on her back and declaring: "I think they have done something courageous. I think they have paid the price and I pray for their freedom. They deserve the right to be free."

 

 

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