Freedom House Condemns Conviction of Pussy Riot in Russia

Freedom House condemns the conviction of Pussy Riot, the punk rock protest group known for creatively demonstrating against the Putin regime in Russia. Three members of the group were sentenced to 2 years today following a trial which brought into stark contrast how vague laws are arbitrarily used by the Russian government to tamp down on dissent and free expression.

The action which attracted the most ire and served as the basis for today’s conviction was Pussy Riot’s impromptu show in the enormous Cathedral of Christ the Savior in February 2012. According to the judge, their concert in which they danced and asked the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of President Putin, amounted to hooliganism and was motivated by religious hatred. One member of Pussy Riot succinctly characterized their protest as “a form of civil action in circumstances where basic human rights, civil and political freedoms are suppressed,” and blamed “the authoritarian political system” for putting them on trial. Spontaneous demonstrations in support of Pussy Riot are under way across Russia today, some of which ended in detentions by the authorities.

In another blow to human and democratic rights in Russia, the conviction of the members of Pussy Riot follows the confirmation of a 100-year ban on gay pride parades in Moscow. The Moscow city government has repeatedly banned the parades on claims that they will provoke disorder and are opposed by the population. The ban on gay-pride parades clearly contradicts constitutionally and internationally guaranteed human rights, and flies in the face of a 2010 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights which found that Russia had violated the freedom of assembly and guarantees of effective justice in bans on gay pride parades in 2006-2008.

Learn More:

Freedom in the World: 2012

Nations in Transit: 2012

Freedom of the Press: 2011

Freedom on the Net: 2011

St. Petersburg Must Not Silence LGBT Population

Regions: 
Reports: 
Countries: