02 November 2012, 15:26
Pussy Riot have done their time, could be released – Medvedev (updated)
Moscow, November 2, Interfax - Pussy Riot singers have done their time and could be freed, said Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
"I resent these characters - the way they look and what they do. The impression they made on me was so negative and I feel so negative about them that I hardly want to talk about them," he told the winners of international competitions of scientific projects, when asked whether the Pussy Riot singers would be freed ahead of time.
"But if I were the judge I would not have jailed them, just because I don't think it is correct to send them to prison. They have spent a long time behind bars already. Enough," he said.
But Medvedev remarked that this prospect is within the court's competence. "This question shouldn't be addressed to me. It should go to our courts, and to the Pussy Riot singers' defense lawyers. They have the right to prepare the relevant requests, which I think they will do, and the court, in turn, has the right to hear the issue and decide," Medvedev said.
He also said that he does not think Pussy Riot are musicians. "I have doubts that the group that has become a celebrity not only in Russia, but also abroad, has anything to do with music. They have not a single song on their record that would get on the hit lists," Medvedev said.
Masked Pussy Riot punk group singers staged what they called "an anti-Putin punk prayer" at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow on February 21, 2012. The singers' escapade became a matter of controversy both in Russia and abroad.
Three Pussy Riot members, Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were detained and tried for disorderly conduct. They claimed innocence and insisted that their action was political rather than anti-religious. However, Moscow's Khamovnichesky Court found them guilty and sentenced them to two years in a penal colony on August 17, 2012. Their lawyers filed appeals against the sentence on August 27. On October 10, the Moscow City Court suspended Samutsevich's sentence and upheld Tolokonnikova's and Alyokhina's convictions.
Defense lawyer Violetta Volkova said on October 24 that Alyokhina had been sent to a penitentiary in the Perm Territory and Tolokonnikova to Mordovia.
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