Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Moscow City Court Upholds Pussy Riot's Sentence at Supervisory Appeal

Interfax reports: The Moscow City Court has turned down supervisory appeals against the sentences handed down earlier on Pussy Riot female punk group members for their performance at the Christ the Savior Cathedral, says a statement available on the court’s website.

The Moscow City Court heard the supervisory appeals on March 15. The defense teams for Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich asked the court to revise Moscow’s Khamovnichesky Court sentences dated August 17, 2012 and the Moscow City Court’s cassation board ruling dated October 10, 2012.

The ruling pronounced by Judge Ellada Bondarenko says the Khamovnichesky Court did not commit any irregularities in handing down the sentence.

“No fundamental violations of the criminal procedure that could have affected the outcome of the hearing and that would have required the cancellation or revision of the judicial rulings were committed,” the ruling says.

The court also confirmed that the defendants’ actions were aimed at fomenting enmity and hatred.

The Moscow City Court agreed that Samutsevich’s sentence had to be suspended. “In choosing a punishment for Samutsevich, the court took into account the nature and public danger of the defendant’s actions and her personality. At the same time, taking into account concrete circumstances of the case, Samutsevich’s role in the crime, and her attitude toward her doings, the cassation court presumed that the convict Samutsevich’s correction was possible without her actual imprisonment and applied provisions of Russian Criminal Code Article 73 to her,” it says.

Several Pussy Riot members staged a performance at the Christ the Savior Cathedral on February 21, 2012. The Khamovnichesky Court found Tolokonnikova, Samutsevich, and Alyokhina guilty of disorderly conduct based on religious enmity and sentenced them to two years in prison each. The women refused to acknowledge their guilt, saying that they did not intend to offend believers. The Moscow City Court later upheld Tolokonnikova’s and Alyokhina’s sentences and suspended Samutsevich’s sentence. The defense teams for the Pussy Riot members filed supervisory appeals on March 5.

Tolokonnikova is serving her sentence at female penitentiary No. 14 in Mordovia and Alyokhina at penitentiary No. 32 in Perm.

The Pussy Riot members filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights on February 7, claiming the violation of four articles of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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