Sir Paul Stands Up For Pussy Riot

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ANDREY SMIRNOV/AFP/Getty Images

ANDREY SMIRNOV/AFP/Getty Images

Maybe a plea from a member of the Fab Four will help out the all-female punk band that’s behind Russian bars, Pussy Riot.

First, the back story. Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk-rock collective based in Moscow, now famous for their guerrilla performances (and subsequent viral videos) against Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church and their relationship to each other.

In February of 2012, five members of the group staged a performance on a religious holiday that was stopped by church officials. A music video entitled “Punk Prayer – Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!”(see below) went viral and by March, 3 Pussy Rioters  Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Maria Alyokhina, were arrested and charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, and each was sentenced to two years imprisonment. Worldwide protests took place in support of the band.

Samutsevich has been freed on probation, her sentence suspended. The other two remain in jail. But now, Maria has just launched a hunger strike this week, after she was denied permission to attend a parole hearing in person.

Enter Sir Paul McCartney, who continues to take an active role in supporting the jailed women. He’s made more appeals to Russian authorities on behalf of Maria and Nadezhda, and is asking for their release. Regarding Maria, Sir Paul explains in a handwritten letter that it’s his “personal belief” that “further incarceration” will be “harmful for her and the situation as a whole, which, of course, is being watched by people all over the world.”

McCartney adds that “in the great tradition of fair-mindedness which the Russian people…are famous for,” he feels that “granting this request would send a very positive message to all the people who have followed this case.”

Regarding Nadezhda, McCartney writes that he’s “had a long relationship with the Russian people,” and with this in mind is “making the following request in a spirit of friendship” for his “many Russian acquaintances” who share his belief in “in treating people — all people, with compassion and kindness.”

-Callahan – Jack Seattle

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