[Brussels, 17 August 2012] As the members of Pussy Riot sat in a courtroom in Moscow awaiting their verdict, EWL members and EWL Secretariat staff took to the streets in Brussels and across Europe in support of the Russian feminist punk band members who dared to defy their government. Since then, news of a guilty verdict for the three young women has both disappointed and enraged protestors.
EWL members from Belgium and Secretariat staff were joined by other human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, and about one hundred other protestors in their gathering in front of the permanent delegation of Russia in Brussels this lunchtime. Similar scenes were to be seen across Europe. The call to FREE PUSSY RIOT, which has gathered pace across the media over the past months, went unheeded. The band members have been found guilty of religious hooliganism. Their punishment could be as harsh as three years in a work camp.
Three members of the Pussy Riot were arrested five months ago in Moscow for performing an ‘anti-Vladimir Putin prayer’ in a Moscow cathedral. The disproportionate reaction of the Russian authorities has since provided them with extraodinary media visibility worldwide, and the support of artists, international NGOs and politicians.
The EWL General Assembly in May 2012 issued a call for the release of the three women. This was followed by a formal Statement presented to Russian embassies across Europe and popular call to action in support of the three women.
The EWL will continue to closely monitor the affair and act in solidarity with feminists and defenders of democracy in Russia.