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Thread: Activism: Free Pussy Riot, Free Russia - Avaaz.org

   
   
       
  1. #1
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    Activism: Free Pussy Riot, Free Russia - Avaaz.org

    Your petition may help to free some brave people in Russia. Follow the link to go to the Avaaz.org site to sign the petition.

    Free Pussy Riot, Free Russia


    SIGN THE PETITION

    To the EU Presidency, and the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Parliament:

    As concerned citizens from around the world, we call on you to take urgent steps to adopt an EU-wide travel ban and a freeze on the financial assets of all those believed to be guilty of the torture and death of the Russian anti-corruption lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, as well as of covering up the case. In the wake of the Pussy Riot verdict, and with Russia steadily slipping into the grip of a new autocracy, we count on you to use your position as Russia's strategic partner to defend democracy and the rule of law.

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    Posted: 22 August 2012
    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. But many Russian citizens remain defiant, and Pussy Riot's eloquent bravery has galvanized the world’s solidarity. Now, our best chance to prove to Putin there is a price to pay for this repression lies with Europe.

    The European Parliament is calling for an assets freeze and travel ban on Putin’s powerful inner circle who are accused of multiple crimes. Our 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. Sign the petition on the right and tell everyone.

    photo credit: Reuters



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  2. #2
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    Russia ombudsman says Pussy Riot verdict excessive




    August 23, 2012

    Vladimir Lukin at the news conference in Moscow, August 23, 2012. — Reuters pic


    MOSCOW, Aug 23 — Russia’s human rights ombudsman today called the prison sentences handed down to three women from punk band Pussy Riot “excessive” and warned that the case was igniting dangerous tensions within society.

    A Moscow court on August 17 convicted the Pussy Riot rockers of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred after belting out a profanity-laced anti-Putin song on the altar of Moscow’s main cathedral in February


    Vladimir Lukin, who was originally nominated for his advisory role by President Vladimir Putin, said he might challenge the sentencing of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich if their jail terms were upheld on appeal.

    It is a misdemeanour that in a normal, civilised European state is handled in administrative rather than criminal proceedings.” — ombudsman Vladimir Lukin

    “It is a misdemeanour that in a normal, civilised European state is handled in administrative rather than criminal proceedings. That’s why I think the ruling on those women is excessive,” he told a news conference when asked about the case.


    Western governments and singers have condemned the sentences as disproportionate and the case has become a cause celebre in Western media where most commentators have echoed the Russian opposition’s charge that the verdict was part of a crackdown on dissent by Putin.


    However, the Kremlin has denounced foreign criticism as politically-motivated. Many Russian Orthodox believers have also said they were offended by the protest, part of a wave of demonstrations against Putin ahead of his re-election to the presidency in March for a third term.


    The women said they meant no offence and were protesting against close ties between the state and the dominant Russian Orthodox Church, whose leader likened Putin’s years at the helm to a “miracle of God” a few weeks before the Pussy Riot protest.


    ‘Poisonous substance of intolerance’


    Lukin, a former liberal lawmaker and ambassador to the United States, said the women’s stunt was not a crime but a “quite serious misdemeanour”.


    He said he hoped an appeals court would “more carefully consider all the aspects of this case” and that as ombudsman he had the right to challenge the verdict once it entered into force if he believed human rights had been violated.


    “If the sentence remains the same ... I will analyse this thoroughly,” he said.


    Lawyers for the women have said they expect to file an appeal next week.


    Lukin’s intervention in the debate came as The Nobel Peace Centre, an arm of the Nobel Foundation, extended an invitation to members of Pussy Riot and their spouses to attend the Oslo World Music Festival in October, a symbolic gesture it said was meant to highlight Russia’s poor human rights record.


    The invitation was issued in conjunction with Amnesty International and the festival’s organisers.


    Lukin suggested the Pussy Riot case, which has inflamed emotions among both liberal and conservative Russians, was widening dangerous rifts in a society that has endured repeated upheaval over the past century.


    “It is regrettable that a poisonous substance of intolerance and brutality is spreading in our society. Recently it has become typical and even fashionable not to discuss problems but to lash about at one another,” Lukin said.


    “The instinct for dialogue is fading and the fighting instinct is coming into the foreground. This is very dangerous.” — Reuters
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