05 September 2012, 10:03
Russian human rights ambassador warns West against lecturing on Pussy Riot case
Moscow, September 5, Interfax - Russian Foreign Ministry Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law Commissioner Konstantin Dolgov offered some explanations on the Pussy Riot case at a meeting with French Ambassador for Human Rights Francois Zimeray on Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Zimeray set out his position "on the court ruling on the Pussy Riot case, putting an emphasis on excessive severity of the sentence that a Russian court handed down on the activists of this punk group. Zimeray pointed to this story's high profile in French and European public opinion," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"The Russian party provided exhaustive explanations. It was noted that the court ruling has nothing to do with accusations being addressed to Russia regarding violations of freedom of speech and artistic expression, but was handed down after careful examination of all facts within the framework of procedural norms existing in the Russian Federation, and can be appealed in a procedure stipulated by the law," it said.
Moscow "once again called on its foreign partners to avoid over-politicized judgments and lecturing, which cannot be perceived other than interference in Russia's internal affairs," it said.
The Russian diplomat said at the meeting that "decisions by independent judicial bodies must be respected, with which the French representative agreed," it said.
"It was particularly stressed that the punk band members' unlawful actions ran counter not only to the law but also to traditional values and the understanding of morality existing in Russian society, which hurt the rights and feelings of millions of Orthodox believers and drew broad public condemnation," the Foreign Ministry said.
Dolgov also mentioned observance of human rights in European Union countries, it said.
"It was pointed out that both the EU member-states and European Union institutions need to resolve numerous problems that have piled up in this area more efficiently and consistently, including in the context of the recent appointment of the EU special representative for human rights," it said.