Pussy Riot House Arrest Likely to be Extended, Case Hearing This Week

Naman Ramachandran
·1-min read

The house arrest of two members of Russian feminist protest group Pussy Riot, Maria Alekhina and Lucy Shtein, is likely to be extended by a few months, with their case coming up for hearing Thursday and Friday.

The pair are accused of calling for a rally in support of political prisoners through posts on Instagram and Twitter in January, and have been under house arrest ever since with no access to the internet.

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Since then, celebrities including Pedro Almodovar, Agnieszka Holland, Stephen Daldry, Gillian Anderson, Spike Jonze, Whoopi Goldberg, Ed Harris, Pawel Pawlikowski, James Norton, Roger Waters, Peter Gabriel and the European Film Academy, have signed a letter of solidarity that will be presented to the court during the hearing.

It is expected that the court will extend the house arrest until midsummer, and, if the case comes up for trial, the pair could be imprisoned for two years.

The letter is written by Pussy Riot member Nadya Tolokonnikova, who has served prison time for her activities with the group. It states that the artists face charges of “inciting violations of sanitary regulations” and that “these baseless charges are part of the Russian government’s campaign to silence activists and discourage people from further protests stirred by corruption.”

“We respectfully urge your government to drop all charges against Maria Alekhina and Lucy Shtein in observance of international human rights laws and standards,” the letter adds. “The international community of artists and human rights advocates around the world will continue to monitor their situation and press your government until you withdraw their cases.”

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