'Pussy Riot World Map' Shows Global Solidarity for Jailed Russian Punk Band Members

Press Release
December 10, 2012

'Pussy Riot World Map' Shows Global Solidarity for Jailed Russian Punk Band Members

Artists from Pearl Jam, Roger Waters Sting and Flogging Molly to Demand Release of Imprisoned Members of Pussy Riot on International Human Rights Day

Contact: Sharon Singh, ssingh@aiusa.org, 202-675-8579, @spksingh

(Washington, D.C.) –Today, Amnesty International USA released Pussy Riot World Map on International Human Rights Day. This new interactive project allows artists, fans and the general public to show their solidarity with the imprisoned members of the Russian punk band, Pussy Riot, through messages of solidarity and photos. Musicians and artists showing their support on this map include Sting, Roger Waters, Pearl Jam, Flogging Molly, Foster the People, Switchfoot, Fitz and the Tantrums, Milo Greene, Amanda Palmer, Jesse Harris, Escort, Silversun Pickups, State Radio and My Morning Jacket.

Three members of Pussy Riot, Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were charged with "hooliganism on the grounds of religious hatred" after performing a protest song in Moscow's main Orthodox cathedral in February 2012. In October, Ekaterina was released, but Maria and Nadezhda's two-year sentences were upheld.

Sting said, "Dissent is a legitimate and essential right in any democracy and modern politicians must accept this fact with tolerance."

"We hope that the continued global expressions of solidarity will help pressure the Russian government to release Maria and Nadezhda, who remain in remote prison camps hundreds of miles away from their families in Moscow," said Suzanne Nossel, Amnesty International USA's executive director. "The persecution of Pussy Riot has become a global symbol of President Putin's shameless intolerance for criticism and determined crackdown on freedom of expression and association."

Since the band's arrest, many musicians and artists have praised Pussy Riot's courageous protest including:

Dave King, member of the Celtic punk band, Flogging Molly: "…the world needs more Bjorks, more Patti Smiths, and dare I say it, more Pussy Riot."

Noelle Scaggs of Fitz and the Tantrums has called the women's sentence "…a mockery of Justice and is an oppression of Freedom."

Silversun Pickups: "Freedom of expression is the most basic of rights. Those who stand against it will fade into history, trod over by the voices and strength of the world's free people."

Amnesty International has designated Maria and Nadezhda to be "prisoners of conscience" who have been wrongfully prosecuted for what was a legitimate protest action. The human rights organization and its members continue to call for the two women's unconditional release so that they may return to their art without fear of reprisal.

The public is invited to add their messages and photographs of solidarity for the two women and/or view the full quotes and photographs of all participating artists at Amnesty International USA's Pussy Riot World Map.

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.