"Moscow is not Sodom... I will not allow perverts to bring the wrath of God onto our city… I want our children to live in a country where a sin that so awfully distorts human nature is not preached in schools.”
Dmitry Tsarionov, Orthodox Christian anti-gay protester
“It’s a matter of grave concern that Moscow’s municipal government has again marginalised the city’s gay community... It’s another sign of the dire situation for Russia’s 8.5 million lesbian, gay and bisexual people, whose human rights are routinely abused by the government and police...”
Stonewall International Officer Jasmine O’Connor
"I've Only Just Begun" Facebook page
"... The next day three members of Pussy Riot would be convicted of felony hooliganism and sentenced to two years in penal colonies—for a protest they staged inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior on Feb. 21. The cathedral had been virtually empty during the morning hours, and the protest lasted all of 40 seconds before the women were removed by security. But church staff members testified during the trial that they were deeply traumatized by observing the young women in brightly colored dresses and balaclavas lip-sync to a recording of what Pussy Riot calls its punk prayer: “Mother of God, cast Putin out... ”
Masha Gessen , The Daily Beast
" ...Political observers say the decision to imprison the girls was the result of a deal struck between Putin and the church, without much involvement by the Kremlin's administration. And for Putin, of course, there is not much political cost in punishing critics who are already despised by a large part of the population. At the beginning of the trial, nearly half those polled said a punishment of two to seven years in prison was appropriate. .. "
Anna Nemtsova, The Daily Beast
"I am not afraid of you. I am not afraid of you and I am not afraid of the thinly
veneered deceit of your verdict at this 'so-called' trial. My truth lives with me.
I believe that honesty, free-speaking and the thirst for truth will make us all a
little freer. We will see this come to pass."
Marina Alyokhina, from closing statement at the Pussy Riot "hooliganism" trial.
from: Amnesty International
"Last Friday, Russian authorities sentenced Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich, and Nadezhda Tolonnikova to two years in a penal colony for exercising their right to Freedom of Expression.
Authorities charged the women with hooliganism on grounds of "hatred, planned and committed by a group of people." Expert legal opinions accepted that although the action may have been offensive to some, there was no evidence that the women had aimed at inciting hatred.
Say what you will about Pussy Riot: this may not be your kind of music. Some people find their shows offensive. But it doesn't change the facts: Since March, these young women have been in jail and kept from their families, including small children, and they now face two years imprisonment - all because of a peaceful protest song that lasted less than a minute. Even if the performance was calculated to shock and cause offense, the activists left the Cathedral when requested and caused no damage.
The European Court of Human Rights states that freedom of expression applies not only to inoffensive ideas, but "also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population".
Amnesty International now considers Pussy Riot to be Prisoners of Conscience, and we won't give up on them. Click here now to demand their immediate release."
"Facing 2 years in jail for singing a song criticizing President Putin in a church, a member of Pussy Riot gestured to the court and said in her show-trial's closing statements, "Despite the fact that we are physically here, we are freer than everyone sitting across from us ... We can say anything we want..."
Russia is steadily slipping into the grip of a new autocracy -- clamping down on public protest, allegedly rigging elections, intimidating media, banning gay rights parades for 100 years, and even beating critics like chess master Garry Kasparov...
Last week’s trial is about far more than three women and their 40-second ‘punk prayer’. When tens of thousands flooded the streets to protest rigged elections, the government threw organisers into jail for weeks. And in June Parliament effectively outlawed dissent by raising the fine for unsanctioned protest by an astounding 150-fold, roughly the average Russian’s salary for a whole year.
Pussy Riot may be the most famous Russian dissidents right now, but their sentence is not the grossest injustice of Putin’s war on dissent. In 2009, anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered a massive tax fraud at the heart of Russia’s power dealers, died in jail -- without a trial, on shaky charges, and with medical attention repeatedly denied. 60 of Russia’s elite have been under scrutiny for the case and its cover-up, and the sanctions the European Parliament is proposing are on this inner circle.
International attention to Russia’s crackdown is cresting right now, and the ‘Magnitsky sanctions’ are the best way to put the heat on Putin and help create breathing room for the suffocating democracy movement.
The European Parliament is calling for an assets freeze and travel ban on Putin’s powerful inner circle who are accused of multiple crimes. (The AVAAZ) community is spread across every corner of the world -- if we can push the Europeans to act, it will not only hit Putin's circle hard, as many bank and have homes in Europe, but also counter his anti-Western propaganda, showing him that the whole world is willing to stand up for a free Russia.
What happens in Russia matters to us all. Russia has blocked international coordination on Syria and other urgent global issues, and a Russian autocracy threatens the world we all want, wherever we are. The Russian people face a serious challenge, but we know that people-powered movements are the best cure for corruption and iron-fisted governments -- and that international solidarity can help keep the flame of these movements alive. Let’s join together now to show Putin that the world will hold him to account and push for change until Russia is set free.
Click ...to support the sanctions ... and give Europe's leaders a global public mandate to adopt the sanctions. "
The Daily Beast
No Country For Women
update (october 2012): One band member freed