British Pop Stars Call for Release of Pussy Riot as Putin Arrives

By webadmin on 07:28 pm Aug 02, 2012
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London. A number of British pop and rock stars Thursday appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to give a fair hearing to the punk band Pussy Riot currently on trial in Moscow, and called for the trio should be released.

In a letter to the Times newspaper, published to coincide with Putin’s first visit to Britain in nine years, the rockers said the Russian band had staged a “legitimate protest.” The female Pussy Riot trio face up to seven years behind bars after staging an anti-Putin performance in a Moscow cathedral.

The letter to the Times was signed, among others, by Jarvis Cocker, Pete Townshend, Martha Wainwright and Neil Tennant. It said the behavior of the Russian band amounted to nothing more than “a minor breach of the peace.”

“Dissent is a right in any democracy and it is entirely disproportionate that they face seven years in jail for what we consider a preposterous charge of ‘hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,’” it said.

It demanded the release of band members Nadeshda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina, and expressed concern about their treatment by the authorities.

“We are concerned about recent reports that food is being withheld from them and that they have appeared in court in a cage,” said the letter.

“We believe firmly that it is the role of the artist to make legitimate political protest and fight for freedom of speech.” Putin is due to have talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron Thursday before attending the judo competition at the London Olympics.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur