Russian Embassy Rejects Amnesty International’s Global Solidarity Map on First Anniversary of Pussy Riot’s Arrest

Today’s attempted delivery included a copy of the Pussy Riot World Map illustrating more than 10,000 solidarity messages.
Press Release
March 4, 2013

Russian Embassy Rejects Amnesty International’s Global Solidarity Map on First Anniversary of Pussy Riot’s Arrest

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

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – To mark the one-year anniversary of Pussy Riot members Nadezhda "Nadia" Tolokonnikova and Maria "Masha" Alekhina's arrest, Amnesty International attempted to deliver the Free Pussy Riot World Map to the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. today. Russian officials refused to accept it.

"Well, it's not the first time the Russian government has refused to hear the outcry of global solidarity for Nadia and Masha, who remain in remote prison camps," said Michelle Ringuette, Amnesty International USA chief of campaigns and programs. "Russian authorities continue to clamp down on human rights, political activists and non-governmental organizations, and it must end now. 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."

In July 2012, Ringuette and other representatives of Amnesty International were asked to leave the Russian Embassy during a formal meeting when they tried to present officials with a petition signed by more than 70,000 people, calling for the release of Pussy Riot. To date, more than 100,000 have joined in that call.

Today's attempted delivery included a copy of the Pussy Riot World Map illustrating more than 10,000 solidarity messages from around the globe, including support from musicians and artists such as Sting, Roger Waters, Pearl Jam, Flogging Molly, Foster the People, Switchfoot, Fitz and the Tantrums, Milo Greene, Jesse Harris, Escort, Silversun Pickups, State Radio and My Morning Jacket. Students, activists and other citizens have also expressed their camaraderie with the women.

Earlier today, Pussy Riot member Masha Alekhina also faced rejection when the Perm Territory Court dismissed her appeal for a deferred sentence until her young son comes of age. In January 2013, Berezniki City Court ruled against her release. Amnesty International considers Nadia and Masha "prisoners of conscience," as they have been detained solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs, and continues to call for their unconditional release.

Three members of the punk collective Pussy Riot were charged with "hooliganism on the grounds of religious hatred" after performing the protest song "Virgin Mary, Redeem Us of Putin" in Moscow's main Orthodox cathedral on February 2011. Ekaterina "Katya" Samutsevich was released on probation after an October 2012 appeal, while Tolokonnikova and Alekhina continue to serve their sentences in notorious penal colonies.

All three women have filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights asking them to find Russia guilty of violating their rights to freedom of expression and a fair trial.

Amnesty International USA invites everyone to view full quotes and photographs from the global community and all participating artists at Pussy Riot World Map. The public can also write their own messages of solidarity to the imprisoned members of the Russian punk group.

Photographs of today’s attempted delivery may be found at:
http://www.amnestyusa.org/pr_jh_sg_in_embassy_at_anniverary.JPG
http://www.amnestyusa.org/demanding_release_russian_embassy.JPG

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.