US, EU Condemn Russian Sentence for Punk Band

Posted August 17th, 2012 at 1:50 pm (UTC-5)
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The United States, European governments and human rights activists have condemned the two-year prison sentence given to members of a Russian punk rock band.

A Russian judge handed down the sentence for three members of the band Pussy Riot who performed a song ridiculing President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral.

The U.S. State Department called Friday's sentence “disproportionate,” and urged Russian authorities to review the case to ensure the right to freedom of expression is upheld.

The European Union's top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, said the case adds to what she called a recent upsurge in “politically motivated intimidation and prosecution” of opposition activists in Russia.

The human rights group Amnesty International said it considers the three women prisoners of conscience.

Rallies in support of the three were held in London, Paris, Kiev and a number of other European cities.