Russian Rockers Denounce Putin in Trial’s Closing Statements
“If this political system throws itself against three girls … it shows this political system is afraid of truth,” a member of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot said as a judge set Aug. 17 as the day she would deliver her verdict on charges that the musicians engaged in hooliganism against the Russian government.
To loud applause from Russian journalists in the courtroom, band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich delivered their closing arguments. Prosecutors are seeking a three-year prison sentence.
The case has been described as a “key test of the powerful president’s desire to crack down on dissent.”
— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
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Prosecutors have asked for a three-year sentence, arguing that the women sought to insult all of Russian Orthodoxy and denying they were carrying out a political protest.
Tolokonnikova called the charges against them a “political order for repression” and denounced Putin’s “totalitarian-authoritarian system”, insisting Pussy Riot were an example of “opposition art”.
“Even though we are behind bars, we are freer than those people,” she said, looking at the prosecution from inside the glass cage where she and her two bandmates, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, have spent the nine-day trial. “We can say what we want, while they can only say what political censorship allows.
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