Amnesty International USA Expresses Deep Concerns Over Russia’s Increasing Crackdown on Free Speech and Expression

Seven members of the Russian band Pussy Riot, January 2012.
Press Release
August 1, 2012

Amnesty International USA Expresses Deep Concerns Over Russia’s Increasing Crackdown on Free Speech and Expression

Human Rights Organization Points to Recent Laws and Increased Arrests of Opposition Leaders

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

(Washington, D.C.) -- Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Amnesty International USA, issued the following statement today in response to the ongoing crackdown on civil society in Russia and recent developments in the trial of three members of the punk rock group Pussy Riot:

"Russia's long history of repressing peaceful protest and expression has finally shown its true face. It appears that President Putin and his buddies not only detest punk music and the vital services provided by NGOs, but the very act of dissent itself."

"Allegations today that members of Pussy Riot have been mistreated while detained is another distressing development in an already frivolous case. Tearing away these three women from their families, children and friends is ridiculous; depriving them of food, water and sufficient sleep is a disgrace."

"The recent charges against Alexei Navalny are the latest installation in Russia's clampdown. Regardless of the outcome of Navalny’s the trial, the timing -- months after the opposition leader led a mass protest and days following his report incriminating Russia's chief investigator -- is a dubious coincidence at best, and conspicuous escalation of repression at worst."

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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