Decision on Samutsevich' role in Pussy Riot extremism case to be made Nov. 20
MOSCOW, November 15 - RAPSI. The Moscow Zamoskvoretsky District Court will consider on November 20 whether to allow freed Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich to join as a concerned party in the case launched by prosecutors last week to declare as extremist video footage of Pussy Riot's punk rock prayer, a court spokesperson told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com).
Samutsevich has sought to join the case as an interested party, however the prosecutor asked for preliminary hearings to be held in the matter.
The court scheduled the hearings for November 20 and said that only the issue of Samutsevich's participation will be discussed there.
After today's proceedings in the case to declare the video extremist, Samutsevich said that she wants to protect the clip. In her view, if it is declared extremist, it will be difficult to launch a supervisory appeal and it may also impact her appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Furthermore, it may complicate matters for the jailed Pussy Riot members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina.
The video in question is a montage of the girls' performance of their punk rock protest song from the altar of Christ the Savior Cathedral in central Moscow shortly before the March 2012 presidential elections which were to return prime minister Putin back to the presidency. Dancing around raucously in brightly colored balaclavas and mini-dresses, and executing a series of high kicks, the Pussy Riot members shouted requests to the Virgin Mary to "chase Putin out." The video was posted online and evoked a massive public outcry.
Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina, and Samutsevich were arrested shortly thereafter.
The Khamovnichesky District Court sentenced the three Pussy Riot members to two years in prison on August 17. Later, the Moscow City Court commuted Samutsevich's sentence from two years in prison to immediate release on probation due to the fact that she was detained by security prior to reaching the altar, and so did not actually participate in the protest.
The judge left Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina's sentences intact.
Prosecutors filed for the video to be declared extremist last week on the basis of psycho-linguistic examination results which were submitted to the prosecutors' office by lower house legislator Alexander Starovoytov, of the Liberal Democratic Party.
Earlier last week, Yekaterina Samutsevich filed a motion to be involved as a third party in the hearing, but it was rejected. The court said that at that point the prosecution had not yet submitted its application, so, as of yet, there was no hearing to join.