Pussy riot member charges police abuse

2012-08-21 19:46
Pussy Riot's Maria Alekhina. (AFP)

Pussy Riot's Maria Alekhina. (AFP)

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Moscow - A member of Russian punk band Pussy Riot wrote in a letter published on Tuesday that she was mistreated by police shortly after a court sentenced her last week to two years in prison.

Maria Alekhina, 24, wrote that an officer yelled insults telling her to hurry up and then twisted her arm while leading her away from the courthouse following Friday's sentencing.

The letter was sent to her lawyer from prison and published on a blog. Alekhina said it was the first time any of the three women had been physically mistreated while in custody.

The Russian court found Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Ekaterina Samuzevich guilty of hooliganism and inciting religious hatred after a February stunt in which they sang the song "Mother of God Drive Putin Out!" inside a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Moscow.

Hackers

Separately, hackers on Tuesday attacked the website of the court that sentenced them and posted a song insulting President Vladimir Putin that plays automatically when users access the site.

The attack on the website of Moscow's Khamovichesky District Court halted its proper operation for some three hours.

Hackers left data supposedly revealing the salaries of court employees, a link to a Bulgarian music video with homosexual content and the personal phone number of a man alleged to be a court official.

The attackers claimed in a statement left on the site www.hamovnichesky.msk.sudrf.ru that they were members of the hackers group Anonymous and left the message: "We do not forget and we do not forgive."

Miscarriage of justice

On Tuesday, Mikhail Fedotov, the chief of Putin's presidential council on human rights, called the verdict "an historic miscarriage of justice", according to the Intefax news agency.

However, while the Pussy Riot trial has been widely criticised outside of the country, according to surveys the majority of Russians agree with the court's decision.

"Our society is quite conservative in terms of respectful behaviour and traditional values," said political scientist Jan Waslawski in the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper.

Two other members of the band are sought on the same charges, a police spokesperson said on Monday.

- SAPA
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