11 February 2013, 10:01
Pussy Riot defense files appeal with ECHR
Moscow, February 11, Interfax - Defense attorneys for the members of the Pussy Riot female punk band sentenced to two years of imprisonment for a performance at Christ the Savior Cathedral have filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), citing violation of four articles of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Dmitry Kolbasin of the Agora human rights association told Interfax that the convicts are asking the ECHR to find the Russian government guilty of violating Articles 10, 5, 3 and 6 of the Convention in relation to the convicts.
"The matter concerns the violation of the right to freedom of expression, the right to liberty and security of person, the prohibition of torture, and the right to a fair and public hearing (Articles 10, 5, 3 and 6 of the Convention," Kolbasin said.
The appeal numbering over 350 pages has been drawn up by lawyers Irina Khrunova (Russia) and Yonko Grozev (Bulgaria).
Kommersant reported that the defense attorneys insisted in their appeal that it was incorrect to interpret the punk band's stunt at the church as an attempt to insult believers' feelings, as it was in fact an artistic performance and cannot be assessed out of the context of the political situation in Russia.
The lawyers believe the Russian authorities violated the right to a fair and public hearing repeatedly. For instance, none of the experts who examined a video of the so-called 'punk prayer' at the prosecution's request was questioned at the proceedings.
Several Pussy Riot members wearing balaclavas staged a performance at the Christ the Savior Cathedral on February 21, 2012. A court sentenced three young women to two years in prison on August 17. The lawyers appealed the sentence, arguing that the convicts' actions did not constitute a crime and did not foment hatred and hostility.
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