Russian pro-gay punk band Pussy Riot found guilty of ‘hooliganism’

Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova found guilty of 'hooliganism on the grounds of religious hatred' for singing a protest song in Moscow’s central Orthodox cathedral

Russian pro-gay punk band Pussy Riot found guilty of ‘hooliganism’
17 August 2012

Three members of Russian female punk band Pussy Riot have been found guilty of ‘religious hooliganism’ for staging an anti-Putin protest which spoke out for gay rights.

Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were accused of ‘hooliganism on the grounds of religious hatred’ for singing a protest song in Moscow’s central Orthodox cathedral.

The performance of ‘Virgin Mary redeem us of Putin’ included a reference to the country’s persecuted LGBT community with the line ‘Gay pride sent to Siberia in chains’ and was staged on 21 February to rally against the president ahead of the country’s elections in March.

The trio have been in detention for four months now and delivering the verdict the judge said the band were ‘whipping up hatred’ and ‘crudely undermining social order’.

Human rights groups have condemned the trial, with Amnesty International accusing it of being ‘politically motivated’.

Celebrities and musicians including Madonna, the Scissor Sisters and Paul McCartney have also shown their support for Pussy Riot and called for their release.

The band originally faced a sentence of up to seven years in jail, but prosecutors are seeking a three-year prison term.

During the demonstration in Christ the Saviour Cathedral, several group members covered their faces with balaclavas.

The song called on Virgin Mary to become a feminist and banish Vladimir Putin. It also criticized the dedication and support shown to Putin by some representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Russian authorities subsequently arrested Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova on 4 March, and Ekaterina Samutsevich on 15 March, claiming they were the masked singers.

One of the women, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, admitted to being a member of the larger Pussy Riot group and taking part in the protest, while the other two denied any involvement in the cathedral protest.

Watch the protest video here:

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

US army is ordered to stop referring to Chelsea Manning as a man

Appeals court orders the military to stop misgendering the jailed Wikileaks soldier
No thumbnail available

Nicki Minaj to teach Stephen Fry to rap

American rapper Nicki Minaj wants to teach 54-year-old British presenter to perfect rhyming technique
Russia drafts law to ban gays from using a surrogate mother

Russia drafts law to ban gays from using a surrogate mother

Vitaly Milonov, a Russian lawmaker, wants an amendment on the 'gay propaganda' law banning same-sex couples from using surrogacy
No thumbnail available

Taking the wild and rocky road in Colorado

The red rocks of Colorado, home to a gay ski week, historic hotels, a classic car museum and extreme outdoor activities, show our travel writer a different side of America
No thumbnail available

Here are 37 Glee covers to remind you of why you loved the show

From I Dreamed A Dream to Don't Stop Believin', take a look back of some of the best songs
No thumbnail available

Gay Londoners get free chance to try Olympic sports

LGBT sports groups are to build on the Olympic legacy with a week-long series of taster sessions
No thumbnail available

Church of England’s first serving trans vicar dies aged 60

Wiltshire’s Reverend Carol Stone underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2000 and was welcomed back to the pulpit by her parishioners
No thumbnail available

Scrap marriage laws, have civil unions for everyone, say Australian MPs

'Appalling that defenders of traditional marriage would prefer to wreck the institution than allow same-sex couples to marry,' says marriage equality activist
No thumbnail available

Ban on gay district bars rejected

Liverpool councillors throw out plans to ban new bars and clubs from the gay district to cut crime