We Stood Up, They Walked Free!

December 23, 2013

The imprisoned members of Pussy Riot have been freed! Today, Nadezhda “Nadya” Tolokonnikova and Maria “Masha” Alyokhinam of the Russian feminist punk group, were officially released in compliance with a new amnesty bill approved by the Russian parliament.

This is great news (though it does not end the struggle for human rights in Russia)!

From the early days following the arrests of three Pussy Riot members (Nadya, Masha and a third member, Ekaterina “Katya” Samutsevich) for performing a protest song at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, Amnesty International has been involved in the effort to unconditionally free the punk rockers!

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have signed petitions, participated in protests, submitted pictures and sent notes to show solidarity, and to urge the Russian authorities to release the Pussy Riot band members and all Prisoners of Conscience, and to repeal all laws that curtail human rights.

Without the tireless efforts of all the activists that make up the global human rights movement, we would not be celebrating today. But tomorrow, the struggle continues.
While Katya was released on probation in October 2012 after an appeal hearing, she continues to face restrictions on her freedoms. The other two women were sent to notorious Russian penal colonies.

Momentum grew. Ordinary activists joined with global artists and celebrities. Musicians Anti-Flag, Sting, Roger Waters, Pearl Jam, Flogging Molly, Foster the People, Switchfoot, Fitz and the Tantrums, Milo Greene, Amanda Palmer, Jesse Harris, Escort and My Morning Jacket showed their support by contributing photos and solidarity messages to our Free Pussy Riot World Map – adding their voices to those of thousands of students and activists who participated in the project.

Hundreds of people attended annual punk rock concerts in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. – a few of many events organized by Amnesty that galvanized the artistic community to express solidarity with the group members and the rights they continue to champion. In July 2013, Adele, U2, Madonna, Yoko Ono, Radiohead, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Ke$ha, Sir Paul McCartney and Sting united with more than 100 musicians to call for the release of Pussy Riot.

In total, over 220,000 actions have been taken through Amnesty International USA on the punk rockers’ behalf.

Without the tireless efforts of all the activists that make up the global human rights movement, we would not be celebrating today. Please take a moment to send your message of support to the women you stood with until they were free. Tomorrow, the struggle continues.