Former Pussy Riot lawyers will not attend defamation hearing against Kommersant
MOSCOW, June 21 (RAPSI, Diana Gutsul) - The former defense team for Pussy Riot will not be able to attend Friday's hearing of a defamation claim they filed against lawyer Irina Khrunova and the Kommersant news agency, one of the plaintiffs told RIA Novosti.
Khrunova joined the defense team of one of the members of the group at the cassation stage.
"We requested an adjournment of the hearing yesterday, because the hearing is scheduled for the same time as an investigative action involving Sergei Udaltsov," lawyer Nikolai Polozov said. "Mark Feygin will not be able to attend the hearing because he is abroad. Since this is the first time we have asked for an adjournment and we have a valid reason to ask for it, we hope that the court will grant our request."
The plaintiffs - Polozov, Feygin and Violetta Volkova - decided to file the suit after Kommersant published an article entitled "A punk prayer can take you to Strasbourg."
According to Polozov, the group's former lawyers were portrayed in the article as incompetent for failing to send the necessary documents to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (ECHR) on time, while in fact the ECHR had accepted their complaint and even assigned it a number.
The lawsuit against Khrunova stems from her statement in the article "when the defense team filed the first complaint (to the ECHR), the court asked them to send additional documents, but they did not submit them to the court, so the application hasn't even been considered for review".
The plaintiffs have asked the court to make the defendants publish a refutation and pay them damages: with Kommersant Publishers to pay 500,000 rubles ($16,160) to each and Khrunova to pay 50,000 rubles ($1,616) to each.
In February 2012, five young women wearing brightly colored balaclavas staged a punk rock prayer in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. An edited video of their performance was posted on the Internet and caused a public outcry.
In August 2012, the Khamovnichesky District Court in Moscow sentenced Yekaterina Samutsevich and two other Pussy Riot members - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina - to two years in a prison settlement for hooliganism.
In October 2012, the Moscow City Court changed Samutsevich's verdict to a suspended sentence and released her immediately based on her new attorneys' argument that she had been seized by security guards prior to reaching the altar. The sentences of Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were upheld.