2012-08-21 10:12:00

Pussy Riot members may be in for "emotional suffering" compensation suit

Moscow, August 21, Interfax - The three members of the Pussy Riot punk band who were sentenced on Friday to two years in jail may face another trial now that a woman is seeking compensation for "deep emotional suffering" she experienced when watching a web-posted video of the performance that earned the three musicians their verdict, a lawyer said.

Irina Ruzankina of the Siberian city of Novosibirsk wants 30,000 rubles (some $1,000) for the alleged agony she experienced when watching the scandalous performance in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior in February in which the three young women from Pussy Riot were asking the Virgin Mary to "drive out" Vladimir Putin, who was then running for president, one of Ruzankina's attorneys, Alexey Krestyanov, told reporters.

The three performers were charged with hooliganism.

"Pussy Riot have earned a lot of money with their performance. There also are others who want to file suits, people who have experienced emotional damage. But we'll first wait for the decision on the current suit applications," Krestyanov said.

The video caused Ruzankina "deep emotional suffering," and she did not know how to deal with it, but Novosibirsk lawyers suggested a financial compensation suit, he said.

However, Ruzankina failed to produce a medical certificate of her supposed emotional damage, and this has often led to the rejection of suits of this kind, Krestyanov said.

Ruzankina's lawyers had asked for a closed-door hearing. "This matter has been discussed, we don't know the position of the other side and so no solution is possible so far. But personal information from the claimant will be announced in court that we wouldn't like to make public," the attorney said.

Ruzankina was due to give a news conference at one of Moscow's restaurants on Monday evening, Krestyanov said. She would have bodyguards with her, he said.

The convicts' lawyers had been summoned to pre-hearing interviews but did not turn up, he said. "They had been properly notified. In such situations, the law prescribes a hearing in their absence. There have been instances of rulings being issued on suits in the absence of the defendant."

The hearing of the suit at the Kuntsevsky Court in Moscow has been scheduled to start on September 7.

The musicians were convicted by Moscow's Khamovnichesky Court.