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Pussy Riot Members Ordered Held While Their Supporters Arrested Outside Court Hearing

April 19, 2012

via The Moscow Times

This Thursday, April 19th, a Moscow court ruled in favor of investigators requesting that the detention of  members of the punk group Pussy Riot to be extended to June 24. Investigators argued that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and two other jailed group members “could become the targets of criminal acts” if they were released, Interfax reported.

A court had previously ordered the women held until April 24. Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samusevich have been in custody since March. They are accused of participating in a Feb. 21 performance by Pussy Riot in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

They face up to seven years in prison if convicted on charges of hooliganism.

At Thursday’s hearing, investigators said they need more time to search for witnesses and other participants in the concert. They said Tolokonnikova had committed an illegal act “in a cynical way in a holy place, setting herself against society,” Rapsi reported from the courtroom.

Tolokonnikova told the court that she has suffered head pain while in jail and has not been given access to medical care at the detention facility. She asked the court to release her so that she can obtain a diagnosis before the possibility of being subjected to prison time. Tolokonnikova also argued that her 4-year-old daughter is suffering psychologically because of their separation.

Her lawyer, Mark Feigin, presented statements from federal human rights watchdog the Public Oversight Commission and from members of the Moscow police’s public chamber requesting that Tolokonnikova be freed, Rapsi reported.

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via Reuters

Russian police detained at least 13 people who demonstrated outside a courthouse this Thursday, April 19th, against the arrest of three members of a women’s punk rock group that performed a protest song in Moscow’s main cathedral, witnesses said.

The court was to decide whether to extend the detention of the three women over the performance, in which the group known as Pussy Riot sang a song against President-elect Vladimir Putin in short dresses and colored masks in Christ the Savior Cathedral.

About 60 of the group’s supporters chanted “Freedom! Freedom!” outside the beige brick Moscow courthouse and some released green, pink and yellow balloons with Pussy Riot’s trademark masks drawn on them.

Scuffles broke out when a Russian Orthodox bystander threw an egg at the husband of one of the three detainees. A Reuters reporter saw police drag at least 13 people off into police vans, two of them for throwing a smoke bomb.

The three women could face seven years in jail on hooliganism charges but deny taking part in the protest in February. No date has been set for trial and the court was expected to extend their pre-trial detention.

Anger over their arrest has fuelled criticism of the Russian Orthodox Church, whose status has improved vastly since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and which has played an increasingly active role in politics since then.

Russians are divided over Pussy Riot’s “punk prayer” protest. Many believers were offended by the protest but some are also upset that Church leaders have called for tough sentences in the case.

Patriarch Kirill, who has described the performance as part of an attack on the Russian Orthodox Church, is also under fire over a lifestyle which critics say is lavish and unbecoming of the head of the Church.

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via Echo Moskvy

Photo-reportage of  the detention of members of the group “Arkady Kots” and others who were performing in a street festival in support of the three women outside Tagansky Court in Moscow.

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via chtodelat news

The group Arkady Kots performing in support of the three arrested alleged members of Pussy Riot and getting detained by Moscow police

 

Slon.Ru’s reporter on the scene relates this interesting exchange with one of the arresting police officers:

When I asked the officer supervising the arrests on what grounds the musicians [Nikolay Oleynikov and Kirill Medvedev, two members of the revolutionary folk ensemble Arkady Kots] were being detained, he explained that any organized actions are interpreted as [unsanctioned protests], and that outside a court house they are prohibited by law.

So you’d detain [people for reciting] poems?”
“For [reciting] poems as well — for any unsanctioned actions.”
Is it permitted to converse in prose?”
“Prose is allowed.”
 “What about unrhymed blank verse?”

The officer thought hard but gave no reply. But some activists standing nearby suggested that, given the political situation, blank verse was doubly forbidden.

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P.S. Arkady Kots continued their performance as they were being transported to a police station along with other lovers of blank verse:

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