Freed Pussy Riot member Samutsevich appeals extremism ruling
MOSCOW, November 30 – RAPSI. Freed Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich appealed the verdict declaring a video montage of Pussy Riot’s punk rock prayer extremist, and thus imposing a Russia-wide ban on the footage, Zamoskvoretsky Court spokesman Yevgeny Pazukhin told RAPSI Friday.
The appeal arises from the court’s Thursday morning decision that the video – which spread like wild fire across the Internet and ultimately served as the impetus for proceedings against Pussy Riot – should be banned for its extremist content, thus satisfying the prosecutors’ request.
Notably, Samutsevich tried to join the proceedings as an interested party when prosecutors initially filed for the video’s prohibition. The court rejected her request, however, noting that her interests weren’t sufficiently at stake pending the outcome. As she was not joined as a party to the case, it is likely that her appeal will not be entertained due to her lack of standing.
The Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI) hosted live text broadcast of the trial, which was held in Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky District Court, and was presided over by Judge Marina Musimovich.
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.
Samutsevich was arrested along with Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina 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 Samutsevichs 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.