Two Pussy Riot members flee Russia after pro-gay protest

Russian punk band are recruiting 'foreign feminists' to help them protest against Vladimir Putin's presidency

Two Pussy Riot members flee Russia after pro-gay protest
26 August 2012

Two members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot have fled the country to avoid prosecution, according to the band today (26 August).

After a Moscow court sentenced three members of the all-female group to two years in prison for staging an anti-Putin protest which spoke up for gay rights, police said they were searching for other members.

A Twitter account called Pussy Riot Group said: ‘In regard to the pursuit, two of our members have successfully fled the country!

‘They are recruiting foreign feminists to prepare new actions!’

Defense lawyers of the convicted Pussy Riot members, Nadezha Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, are expected to appeal against their sentences next week.

In an interview with Reuters, Tolokonnikova’s husband Pyotr Verzilov said the two women had taken part in the cathedral protest along with his wife.

He said: ‘Since the Moscow police said they are searching for them, they will keep a low profile for now.

‘They are in a safe place beyond the reach of the Russian police.’

He confirmed this meant a country which has no extradition agreement with Russia, and added there are still 12 to 14 members actively working to protest Putin’s ‘tyranny’.

Pussy Riot performed the song ‘Virgin Mary redeem us of Putin’ at a Moscow cathedral, and included a lyric reference to the country’s persecuted LGBT community with the line ‘Gay pride sent to Siberia in chains’.

It was one of a number of performances intended as a protest against Putin in the run-up to Russia’s presidential elections in March.

The song outraged the Orthodox Church in Russia, which accused Pussy Riot of blasphemy and asked for severe judgment.

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

Other music artists such as Madonna have blasted the conviction, who called the sentence ‘too harsh’ and ‘inhumane’.

After a performance in which she wore the colored balaclava and scrawled ‘Pussy Riot’ on her back, she said: ‘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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