Amnesty International USA Responds to Release of Pussy Riot Members

Press Release
December 23, 2013

Amnesty International USA Responds to Release of Pussy Riot Members

Contact: Carol Gregory, 202-675-8759, cgregory@aiusa.org , @AIUSAmedia

(WASHINGTON, DC) –Amnesty International USA, whose membership took more than 200,000 online actions on behalf of Pussy Riot during the band members’ imprisonment in Russia, celebrated their release Monday but pledged no let-up in its advocacy in Russia as the Black Sea resort of Sochi prepares to host the Olympics.

“President Putin has finally freed members of Pussy Riot thanks in part to the concerted activism of ordinary people from around the world and celebrities who protested the egregious crackdown on freedom of expression that their imprisonment came to symbolize,” said Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “We must keep the pressure on until all Prisoners of Conscience are released, and charges against them dropped. Until all laws that stifle the freedom of expression and assembly and LGBTI rights in Russia are repealed, freeing the imprisoned members of Pussy Riot is only a half-step to justice.”

“The release of businessman Mikhail Khodorkovski, the Pussy Riot singers Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and a handful of Bolotnaya case detainees should not been seen as a benign act of clemency, but a politically expedient move in the run up to the Sochi Olympics,” added John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Program Director at Amnesty International.

Amnesty International has had early and persistent involvement on behalf of the Pussy Riot band members, declaring, if jailed, they'd be Prisoners of Conscience and later mobilizing hundreds of thousands of activists and celebrities to speak up on the case, and on the Russian laws curtailing human rights that have been used to justify the arrests.

Learn more about Amnesty International's involvement over the past two years:

We stood up, they walked free: http://blog.amnestyusa.org/europe/we-stood-up-they-walked-free/

Pussy Riot freed - Interactive Timeline: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/pussy-riot-freed

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million members 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.