Pussy Riot Granted Appeals Hearing
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Pussy Riot Granted Appeals Hearing

The BBC reports that the Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot, made infamous for its February 21 “protest” on the alter of a Russian Orthodox church and summarily arrested following it, has been granted an appeals hearing following its sentencing to two years of jail time.

For those of you who haven’t been keeping up on the story, Pussy Riot is an outspoken all-girls punk rock band in Russia that stormed into a famous Orthodox church to sing one of their songs calling for the Virgin Mary to cast down Vladimir Putin.

Originally arrested under the law stating that no slander can be made of a leader in Russia, the group was convicted not for their songs but for their trespassing and violation of the grounds of the church.

According to reports the group was defiant in their appeals hearing, stating that “it’s as clear as daylight that this was a political act, not anti-religious… I ask you to quash this sentence”. Additionally they have said that they will not repent for their actions and said that doing so would be like “blackmail”.

Initially asking for a less severe sentence to be passed on the girls, President Putin appeared on Russia’s NTV network to discuss his own thoughts on the case:

“It’s right that they were arrested, it’s right that the court took that decision, because you can’t undermine the foundations of morality, our moral values, destroy the country. What would we be left with then?”

This case has gotten extensive international attention due to the fact that the girls sand a song (strewn with vulgarities) about Putin, however the issue at stake is not simply about politics but trespassing, vandalism and public obscenity. In fact, opinion polls in Russia show a majority of people are in favor of the original sentence, with 43% even saying it was too light in the first place.

The big question is, having done this to a very traditional Orthodox cathedral and having angered millions of people in the process, would the girls truly be safe OUTSIDE of prison from the public wanting to take revenge for their acts should they be let go?

The first appeals hearing is set for October 1.

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