News24

Medvedev says Pussy Riot should be freed

2012-09-12 22:19

Moscow - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday he thought that three female members of punk band Pussy Riot who were sentenced to two years in jail last month for a political protest in a Moscow cathedral should be freed.

Medvedev, who was president for four years until Ma , appeared to be trying to disassociate himself from the jail terms which were condemned as excessive by the West and rights groups at home, as well as by liberal Russians.

When president, Medvedev styled himself as a liberal reformer, and though he handed the presidency back to Vladimir Putin he has made it clear he wants to remain in politics and perhaps even return to the presidency one day.

The three band members - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich - were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred on 17 Aug after belting out a profanity-laced song criticising Putin on the altar of Moscow's main cathedral in February.

They have been in jail since March and their appeal is due to start being heard on 1 October.

"The prolongation of their incarceration in the conditions of jail seems to me to be unproductive," Medvedev said in televised remarks. "

A suspended sentence, taking into account time they have already spent [in jail], would be entirely sufficient," he added.

However, Medvedev criticised the women, saying he was "sickened by what they did, by their looks, by the hysteria which followed what had happened".

He said prison is "very, very strict" punishment as a rule.

Medvedev emphasised he was expressing his personal view only and was not seeking to influence the case.

The band members had faced up to seven years in prison, but Putin said during the trial that they should not be judged "too harshly" and prosecutors subsequently requested three-year sentences; they were sentenced to two years each in the end.

In a television interview last week, Putin declined to comment on whether he believed the sentences were fitting, saying he was not interfering in the case.

But he suggested the band had forced its "indecent" name into public discourse and said abuses committed against the Russian Orthodox Church and other faiths in the Soviet era meant "the state is obliged to protect the feelings of believers".

Comments
  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-09-12 23:42

    How far the once mighty Russia has fallen into the space of disgrace, that they are threatened enough by three little girls in a punk band, how pathetic can a government become how pathetic is the excuse that a government must protect a nation from it's feelings, I thought the ANC was bad, but this takes the 'cherry's" on the cake, and puts them in jail. Freee Puusssyyy Riot, whomever they are, leave the little girls alone you perverted bunch of old timers.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-13 00:53

    This macho Putin, has become the clown of international politics, Scared of a few PUNKS !!!!!!!!!! It can hardly get more absurd. Next time, he might want to throw a nuclear bomb on them/ What a psychopath !!!

  • teddy.beer.319 - 2012-09-13 06:44

    Me and Medvedev love dem Pussy Riots!

  • sisie.indola - 2012-09-13 07:42

    Putin reminds me of some people in our own government - thinks the sun shines out of his a*&e, but is really a clown in disguised as a leader, and then with all those macho tricks (jet skis, parachuting etc)does he really think he is the only one that can do those things - i can name plenty girls who can as well.

  • igor.taskov.12 - 2012-09-13 08:22

    West is irritated with Putin... he is not an easy roll over...They preferred much more vodka - loving drunkard Yeltsin...Those were the good days...and they are unable to bully Russians with their military machine, because, well, Russia is a military machine itself. These women are guilty of hooliganism, watch the video, how else would you describe it?! There are places for political protests, churches are not one of them (I'm not a "believer" btw). Why not on Red Square? It is well known how it is appropriate to behave in places of worship (private properties btw). If you are unable to conform, then do not enter. Putin won democratic elections fair and square in Russia, West needs to lay off. Russian people have spoken. And Russian is neither Libya, nor Iraq, nor Iran, nor Syria. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grEBLskpDWQ

      igor.taskov.12 - 2012-09-13 08:26

      this one is better... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCasuaAczKY&feature=related

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