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Paul McCartney Writes To Russian Judge In Support Of Pussy Riot

Paul McCartney Writes To Russian Judge In Support Of Pussy Riot

Paul McCartney has written to a Russian judge asking that members of the political activist punk rock group Pussy Riot be released from prison.

McCartney asked the judge that Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova be granted parole for the impromptu concert they held in Moscow’s main cathedral. The performance was intended to draw attention to the close ties between the Russian government and the Orthodox Church.The band members are currently serving two-year sentences.

“My personal belief is that further incarceration for Maria will be harmful for her and the situation as a whole, which, of course, is being watched by people all over the world,” McCartney wrote. “I have had a long relationship with the Russian people, and with this in mind, I am making the following request in a spirit of friendship for my many Russian acquaintances who, like me, believe in treating people — all people, with compassion and kindness.”

Alekhina, who had been held out of her own parole hearing, went on a hunger strike in prison this week to protest the proceedings. Tolokonnikova saw her parole denied last month. Yekaterina Samutsevich, who was also jailed, has since been released on appeal.

Paul McCartney was not the only one to write to the Russian court in support of Pussy Riot. Peter Gabriel and Patti Smith also wrote in support of the parole hearings, and Madonna has spoken out in support of the punk rock band as well.

Members of Pussy Riot remain unapologetic about the protest. Yekaterina Samutsevich, spoke to The Associated Press in February to mark the one-year anniversary of their arrests, saying it was worth risking arrest to draw attention to the ties between the government and the church.

“I have no regrets about the performance,” she said. “Many people who did not know about the problem became aware of it: the problem in our society, in the Russian Church.”

Paul McCartney published the letters supporting Pussy Riot in part on his website.

[Paul McCartney Image via Wikimedia Commons]

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