Amnesty International and CBGB, Legendary Music Club, Join Forces to Increase Pressure on Russian Authorities to Free Pussy Riot

Press Release
August 15, 2012

Amnesty International and CBGB, Legendary Music Club, Join Forces to Increase Pressure on Russian Authorities to Free Pussy Riot

Letter of Support Signed by Numerous Artists Illustrates Global Backing for the Women; Verdict Expected Friday

Contact: Alex Edwards, aedwards@aiusa.org, 202-675-8761

(Washington, D.C.) – Amnesty International announced today its partnership with CBGB to help increase pressure on Russian authorities to free Pussy Riot and stop the draconian measures that are curbing freedom of expression in Russia.

CBGB, the world-renowned music club, opened in December 1973 and has housed one of "the most influential clusters of bands ever to have grown up - or to implicitly reject the concept of growing up - under one roof." Bands that have played at this club include Blondie, the Dead Boys, the Dictators, the Heartbreakers (with Johnny Thunders), the Ramones, Suicide, Talking Heads, Television, Pearl Jam and Guns N' Roses.

"CBGB has always been a strong supporter of Amnesty International,” said Tim Hayes, co-owner of CBGB. “We believe that musicians must stick together and support each other. The wrongful imprisonment of artists like Maria, Nadezhda, and Yetakerina may spread like wildfire if we do not take a stand on their behalf. Without the help of Amnesty International, the voices of these three women and others like them may be silenced forever."

An open letter of support for the three women has been signed by numerous artists, including Roger Waters, Peter Gabriel, Anthony Bourdain, Bunny Carlos, Gogol Bordello and the family of Joey Ramone. These artists join many others including Sting, AnjeliqueKidjo, Anthony Keidis and Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Natasha Bedingfield in showing their support for Pussy Riot.

In addition, on Thursday, August 16, Amnesty International &Breslin Bar and Dining Room will cosponsor an evening of readings of the inspirational court room statements by the members of Pussy Riot in New York City. The program, produced by JD Samson and freepussyriot.org, will include readings of letters the women have written while in prison and other translated material along with court room attendees’ written observations. Readers scheduled to appear include Chloe Sevigny, Eileen Myles, Karen Finley, Johanna Fateman and Justin Vivian Bond.

The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Breslin Bar and Dining Room Liberty Hall in the Ace Hotel and is open to the public.

"CBGB is legendary for creating a forum for new and original voices,” said Michelle Ringuette, chief of campaigns and programs for Amnesty International USA. “By throwing their support behind Pussy Riot, CBGB and all the artists involved are using that legacy both to try to free these unjustly incarcerated young women and to stand up for free expression everywhere."

For more information on the collaboration, visit www.amnestyusa.org/cbgb.

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.

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