Human Rights Organization Deeply Concerned About Increasing Crackdown on Freedom of Expression and Pussy Riot's Prolonged Detention and Possible Sentencing
(Washington, D.C.) -- Michelle Ringuette, Chief of Campaigns & Programs for Amnesty International USA, issued the following statement after a scheduled meeting this morning between representatives of Amnesty International and Russian Embassy officials:
“As the Pussy Riot verdict nears, Amnesty International tried to show its support for the three women by presenting the Russian Embassy with more than 70,000 petitions urging Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the women. We are deeply concerned about the prolonged detention and possible sentencing of Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikovaback, who peacefully performed a political protest song."
“Unfortunately, the senior counselor of the Russian Embassy was unwilling to engage in a dialogue about human rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of association in civil society, the rights of LGBT citizens and the unlawful detention of Pussy Riot."
“This representative of President Putin and his government not only rejected Amnesty International's pleas to take our concerns to Moscow, he unceremoniously dumped the petitions on the sidewalk. If this and other actions taken by Russian authorities are any indication, Putin’s vision for the country is a complete breakdown of a free and just society."
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.