Two members of punk group 'Pussy Riot' face up to seven years in prison for having asked "Mother of God, send Putin away" in a song performed during a protest.
Russian authorities are pressing on with their repression, and despite calls for the release of political prisoners, the newly elected president, Vladimir Putin, is not about to order the liberation of two singers, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, who performed a protest song in Moscow's Christ The Saviour cathedral. The song, "Mother of God, send Putin away", provoked a furor in the ranks of authoritarian leaders, chief among them the new president, and the two members of the feminist group Pussy Riot were arrested after their performance. They are charged with hooliganism.
Index on Censorship has learned that both ladies will remain behind bars at least until April 24, when they are to appear in front of a judge. Their originality could cost them seven years in prison, but no one in authority seems to be concerned by the fact that they are both mothers of young children.
What's more troubling is that the judge who authorized the arrests is seen by Pussy Riot's lawyers as being also politically motivated and probably offended as well by the group's choice of song. They point out that she (the judge) was involved in July 2010 in the case against organizers of an exhibition called "Forbidden Art". They were found guilty of inciting religious hatred.
A number of small protests in support of the Pussy Riot members are taking place near the court building, and some activists have created icons depicting the two singers. It is also reported that a third member, Irina Loktina, has just been arrested.