Amnesty International call for release of Pussy Riot

Earlier this week we reported that three members of Russian feminist punk collective Pussy Riot had been arrested for performing a punk prayer in Moscow's Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Today Amnesty International has posted a public call for the women to be released "immediately and unconditionally", and reports that while the three women admit to being members of Pussy Riot, they have so far denied involvement in the cathedral protest.

Amnesty states that: "even if the three arrested women did take part in the protest, the severity of Russian authorities’ response – detention on the serious criminal charge of hooliganism – would not be a justifiable response to the peaceful (if, to many, offensive) expression of their political beliefs, and they would therefore be prisoners of conscience.

"The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly ruled that freedom of expression applies not only to inoffensive ideas, "but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population", and even if the action was calculated to shock and was known to be likely to cause offence, the activists left the cathedral when requested to do so and caused no damage. The entire incident lasted only a few minutes and caused only minimal disruption to those using the cathedral."

Read the full statement here.

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