Russian 'Morality Coalition' Slams EP for Pussy Riot's Sakharov Award Nomination

World | September 26, 2012, Wednesday // 16:27|  views

The three jailed members of the scandalous Russian girls' punk group Pussy Riot have been nominated for EP's "Freedom of Thought" award by a German MEP. Photo by RIA Novosti

A Russian Morality Coalition on Wednesday protested the European Parliament's decision to nominate three jailed members of the punk group Pussy Riot for the Andrei Sakharov human rights award.

"We would like to note that the Pussy Riot members received two-year prison sentences not over freedom-of-thought issues but for attempting to organize a provocation in the Christ the Savior Cathedral that offended believers," the hitherto-unknown Coalition said in a letter to the European Parliament, as cited by RIA Novosti.

It also said the coalition was outraged by the European Parliament's selective approach in the case of Pussy Riot and the "Innocence of Muslim" film, which has spurred mass protests and violence all over the Muslim world because of its denigrating portrayal of Prophet Mohammed.

"When 'Innocence of Muslims' came out they said it was hatred and blasphemy. We don't like it that the European Parliament has double standards: it's immoral with regard to Muslims but it's okay with regard to Christians," the Russian Morality Coalition said.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Ekaterina Samutsevich, who were sentenced last month to two years in prison for their "punk prayer" in Moscow's Christ the Savior cathedral in February, were nominated by German MP Werner Schulz for the For Freedom of Thought award, otherwise known as the Sakharov Prize.

Other nominees include Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, as well as imprisoned members of the opposition in Rwanda and Iran. The winner will be chosen in December in Strasbourg.

The Sakharov Prize, which comes with a EUR 50 000 is given to individuals and organizations who have made a special contribution to the protection of human rights.

Soviet dissident Anatoly Marchenko, who died in prison in 1986, and Nelson Mandela were the first to be awarded the prize in 1988.

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Tags: Sakharov Award, EP, European parliament, Members of the European Parliament, MEPs, MEP, Pussy Riot, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Russian President, Russian Orthodox Church, Werner Schulz, Christ the Saviour, Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Moscow, Russian opposition, Andrei Sakharov, Russian Morality Coalition


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