EU, US Bash Russia over Pussy Riot Sentencing

World | August 17, 2012, Friday // 18:53|  views

Three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years prison on Friday.. Photo by RIA Novosti

EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and the United States Embassy in Russia have criticized the two-year sentences handed down by a Russian court to three members of the Pussy Riot punk band who had staged an anti-Kremlin protest.

"This sentence is disproportionate," Ashton says in a statement, adding that "it puts a serious question mark over Russia's respect for international obligations of fair, transparent, and independent legal process."

"This case adds to the recent upsurge in politically motivated intimidation and

prosecution of opposition activists in the Russian Federation, a trend that is of growing concern to the European Union," the statement reads.

The EU foreign policy chief declares that the sentence is "deeply troubling."

"I expect that this sentence will be reviewed and reversed in line with Russia's international commitments."

Meanwhile, the US embassy in Russia said on its Twitter feed that the verdict "looks disproportionate to the actions."

Three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years prison on Friday.

Earlier the same the day, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, found guilty of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred."

The three Pussy Riot members were detained after five masked women performed a song in Moscow's landmark Christ the Savior Cathedral in late February, speaking out against what they said was church support for Vladimir Putin's presidential election campaign.

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Tags: Vladimir Putin, Russia, Moscow, Russian President, Patriarch Kirill, Dmitry Medvedev, Pussy Riot, Russian Orthodox Church, Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Catherine Ashton, EU, United States


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