Pussy Riot video extremism trial. Part 2 - live updates
MOSCOW, November 29 - RAPSI. The Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI) hosted a live text broadcast of the Pussy Riot extremism trial, a hearing to determine whether video footage of the punk rock prayer that sent shockwaves around the globe should be declared extremist and thus banned in Russia.
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.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich were arrested shortly after the performance. The three were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred in August and sentenced to two years in prison each. On appeal, a judge converted Samutsevich’s sentence to time served with immediate release after her new attorney argued that she had been detained by church security before reaching the stage, and that she thus had not participated in the punk rock prayer. Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina are currently carrying out their sentences.
12:43 Well that's all for today's broadcast. Thanks for joining us and stay tuned for the next action-packed RAPSI trial broadcast!
12:38 Today's proceedings came and went surprisingly quickly today.
12:28 The decision can be appealed within three days. The video ban will take full effect as soon as the court's decision enters into force.
12:26 Well that's it: it's extremist. The video footage must be banned from all websites that currently feature it. The judge is reading out the IP addresses of websites that must discontinue hosting the footage. The footage at the Live Journal accounts banned as well as the video hosted at the Pussy Riot's website.
12:19 The camera crews are gearing up rapidly, getting ready to capture the decision once it's handed down.
12:15 The judge has retired to consider her decision.
12:13 Samutsevich believes that the prosecution seeks to cast a broad extremism net, reaching materials beyond just the video montage at issue.
12:10 Now it's time for oral arguments, in which only the prosecutor takes part. He asks the judge to satisfy the demands in full. It seems that the prosecution may be interested in declaring more than just the video montage extremist. It's possible the prosecutor's efforts to save Russia from the Pussy Riot threat may extend even further, to other actions.
12:08 The judge is reading off a list of websites that host the video. Prosecutors also included evidence in the form of pictures of the punk rock group's other actions, and lyrics to their songs.
12:06 According to the experts, whose conclusions the judge is currently reading out, the footage contains an underlying call for such actions: the organization of mass riots, such as the Occupy Wall Street movement, or the Arab Spring. And of course, he explains that religious feelings were totally offended.
12:04 The judge is reading out a letter written by the Russian Interior Ministry to the Russian Institute for Cultural Research, asking the following questions: Does the video contain words or symbols aimed at degrading a group of people on the basis of religion, nationality, or gender? Does it aim to incite terrorism, the violent overthrow of the government, riots, or vandalism? Do the group participants seem to be misbehaving for the purpose of causing humiliation on the basis of religion, nationality, or some other status? Can the video be construed as obscene to the religious sensibilities of believers?
12:03 The prosecution has finished its presentation. The judge is now examining other written materials serving as evidence in the case including a letter from a Duma lawmaker requesting an examination, a report about the crime, and other such documents
12:02 Prosecutor introduced a study conducted by the Russian Institute for Cultural Research, which turns out to be the fourth expert opinion so far. When asked whether this is the prosecution’s only evidence, Tretyakov informs us that there’s also a photoscript of the footage depicting the girls’ hooliganism antics.
11:57 Prosecutor Tretyakov takes the stand. The prosecutors revealed during the probe that the footage was uploaded on a number of websites, he says. A special research was made confirming the extremist character of the footage, according to the prosecutor. It is explained that the video footage, left to float freely around, might ignite religious hatred and violate the rights of an indefinite number of people.
11:53 Russia's Ministry of Justice is involved in the case as an interested party.
11:51 "With all due resepect for your free speech and your political views, if you try to turn this into a political rally, I will be required by law to remove you from this courtroom. Let's not spoil for each other what could be a good day," a bailiff tells the journalists. The hearing has begun.
11:50 The press have made their way into the courtroom. Fortunately, there's space enough for everyone. The prosecutor just arrived.
11:49 The bailiffs are trying to get a count of the journalists that will soon be attempting to smash their way into the courtroom. They're asking for a show of hands, first of the journalists present, and then of the video and camera crew members.
11:45 The bailiffs tell us that there will definitely be a decision today.
11:44 Check out our Russian-language coverage too if you're interested.
11:43 The parties to another case were just summoned to our courtroom, so we gather things are going to start a bit late today.
11:42 The video specifically at issue is an edited montage of the punk rock prayer. The original footage of the performance is floating around online, which shows the girls running amok on the solea, but the music is barely audible in that version.
11:41 Freed Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich has arrived at the court. Earlier the judge decided that she would not be allowed to join as a third party to the proceedings, arguing that her interests weren't sufficiently at stake in connection with the trial's outcome. She's only here as a spectator.
11:39 Judge Marina Musimovich will be presiding over today's proceedings. She has reserved two hours on the court's extremely busy schedule for the Pussy Riot extremism hearing.
11:33 Journalists were already surrounding the court half an hour prior to the start of proceedings. It's caused a big stir among Russian media. Major TV networks are present.
11:30 Good morning everyone! In just a few minutes the Pussy Riot extremism trial will begin at the Zamoskvoretsky District Court of Moscow. Today the court will consider whether or not to ban video footage of the Pussy Riot punk rock prayer for its extremist nature. With you today are Anna Shubina, Ingrid Burke, and Vladimir Yaduta. In case youmissed something here's the first part of the text coverage of Pussy Riot video extremism trial.