United Kingdom’s Cameron Must Raise Critical Issues with Russia’s Putin in Meeting Today

Press Release
August 2, 2012

United Kingdom’s Cameron Must Raise Critical Issues with Russia’s Putin in Meeting Today

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

(Washington, D.C.) -- Amnesty International calls on United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin about the Pussy Riot trial and Russia's increasing intolerance of legitimate dissent as well as Russia's efforts to block international action on Syria. The two leaders are meeting in London today.

"David Cameron needs to step up and raise these critical issues with President Putin," said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s director of Europe and Central Asia. "Russia should stop supplying arms to President Assad's government and should support a strengthening of the U.N. monitoring mission in the country and a referral of the crisis to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court."

The trial of Pussy Riot, underway this week, has spotlighted the fact that, under Putin's presidency, Russia has grown increasingly intolerant of legitimate dissent. Amnesty International believes that the trial of Pussy Riot defendants, Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, is politically motivated.

"The three women are being prosecuted for what was a legitimate--if potentially offensive--protest action," said Dalhuisen. "Prime Minister Cameron should politely, but firmly, tell it like it is on the Pussy Riot case: the trial is a disgrace and the charges should be dropped immediately. By putting a group of women in balaclavas on trial, Russia's own mask has slipped."

Amnesty International considers the three women to be prisoners of conscience and is calling for their immediate and unconditional release.

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.