Sunday, July 28, 2013

Elton Calls for Release of Pussy Riot

Paul McCartney, Elton John, Madonna and Adele are just some of the 100 stars that have signed a new open letter with Amnesty International calling for the release of Russian punk group, Pussy Riot, according to Rolling Stone.


In the letter, which was also signed by musical acts like U2, Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead, Sting, Ke$ha and One Direction, the group claims the impact of Pussy Riot's "shockingly unjust trial and imprisonment has spread far and wide, especially among your fellow artists, musicians and citizens around the world."

Two members of the three-person group, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23 and Maria Alyokhina, 25 are currently imprisoned in Russia. They are serving a two-year sentence for taking part in a protest held at Moscow Cathedral in February 2012 that rallied against Russian President Vladimir Putin. The third member of the group, Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, appealed her sentence and was released last October.

The new letter comes as Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina are set to apply for parole this week.

"While understanding the sensitivities of protesting in a place of worship, we ask that the Russian authorities review these harsh sentences, so that you may return to your children, your families and your lives," the letter asks, also citing freedom of a speech as a reason for the pair's release. "The right to freedom of expression and dissent is a legitimate one and essential in any kind of democracy," it said.

The celebrity attention is not a surprise, as stars have been vocal about their support for the group since they were first taken to a "notoriously brutal," prison following their conviction, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

THR also reports that the women have not been treated well during their time there, with rumors circulating that Alyokhina was recently beaten by guards while being moved from one location to another.

The women will appear in Moscow court on Wednesday.

- HNGN

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