Pussy Riot Lawyers File Complaint With the European Court of Human Rights

7:28 AM PST 02/07/2013 by Vladimir Kozlov
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They claim the Russian government violated the feminist punk rockers’ rights to freedom of speech and fair trial.

MOSCOW -- Lawyers for three members of the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot have filed a complaint against their convictions in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The complaint, filed Wednesday, contests last summer’s sentencing of Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich to two years in prison for the anti-Putin “punk prayer” at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in February 2012. A court of appeals later replaced Samutsevich’s prison term with a suspended sentence.

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In accordance with the complaint, the conviction on charges of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" violated four articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, including those on freedom of speech and the right to a fair trial.

Pussy Riot’s lawyers are referring to the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling in the 1976 Handyside v. The United Kingdom case that “the right to freedom of expression includes the right to 'offend, shock and disturb.'"

The complaint states no amount of compensatory damages. "It is much more important that the court rule us innocent and the Russian authorities guilty of human right violations," Samutsevich was quoted as saying by the Russian daily Kommersant. "I think that our chances are pretty good as the entire Europe was following our case."

 

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