2012-04-27 12:50:00

Arrested Pussy Riot women write letter to Medvedev

Moscow, April 27, Interfax - The arrested Pussy Riot performers have asked the Russian president to ask the Prosecutor General's Office to probe the legality of the criminal case against them, the women's lawyer Nikolay Polozov said.

"The women have written letters to President Dmitry Medvedev and passed them through Ren-TV journalist Marianna Maksimovskaya. I have seen those letters, they are asking the president as guarantor of the Russian Constitution to look into the violations of their constitutional rights in connection with the criminal case opened against them," Polozov told Interfax on Friday.

The legality of the decision to open a criminal case against the women on the basis of the article of the Criminal Code dealing with hooliganism has recently been confirmed by the prosecutors of the Moscow Central Administrative District, he said.

"We believe that the people who work in the Prosecutor General's Office are more experienced than the Central District prosecutors, and when they look at the case materials in detail they will see that there is no evidence of hooliganism in it," the lawyer said.

In order for the case to be classified according to Article 213 of the Criminal Code they had to have used weapons or fanned hatred or feud, he said.

"None of those things happened, which makes it impossible to charge them with violating Article 213," Polozov said.

Polozov recalled that lawyers have now prepared claims contesting the legality of the decision to open a criminal case, which will be filed with the Moscow Tagansky Court in the nearest future, he said.

In the meantime, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev refrained from commenting on the arrest of the Pussy Riot women in a recent interview with Russian television channels.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has not commented on the case of Pussy Riot, an all-female punk group that staged a 'punk prayer' in Christ the Savior Cathedral, noting that they are likely to have got what they wanted which is popularity.

"As the president, I will not comment on the judicial aspect of the case because the investigation is underway, and I have always avoided making judicial comments on any case until there is a verdict," Medvedev said in an interview with Russian TV channels on Thursday.

"To speak about my position as a churchgoer, I will speak as carefully as possible in order not to insult anyone. In my opinion, they got what they wanted," he said.

Asked whether he means arrested, Medvedev said: "Popularity."

On February 21, several members of the feminist Pussy Riot band, their faces covered by masks, performed an anti-Putin song inside the Christ the Savior's Cathedral.

A criminal case was opened on hooliganism charges. Three Pussy Riot girls were arrested.