Pussy Riot member denied access to trial over group's videos
MOSCOW, January 30 - RAPSI. The Moscow City Court has rejected on Wednesday a Pussy Riot member's appeal against the verdict to deny her access to the hearings over recognition of the group's videos as extremist.
Yekaterina Samutsevich was denied access to the trial because the appeals board did not recognize her as an interested party in the case. Following that, the court dismissed the extremism appeal altogether.
On November 29, the Zamoskvoretsky District Court restricted access to four Pussy Riot videos posted on five websites based on the motion submitted by the prosecutors. The videos featured the band's punk prayer in the Christ the Savior Cathedral, and their rallies on Red Square, on the roof of a detention center, and in a trolley.
Samutsevich appealed the verdict to declare the videos extremist, although she is not a party to the case. The court earlier rejected her request to join the proceedings as an interested party. Samutsevich believes the verdict will make it more difficult for Pussy Riot to argue their case in Strasbourg. She also believes the verdict may influence the future of fellow Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.
The prosecutors submitted the case to court upon the request of State Duma Deputy Alexander Starovoitov from the Liberal Democratic Party, who had ordered a psychological and linguistic study of the videos. Starovoitov believes watching the videos is harmful as they insult the feelings of millions of Russian Orthodox believers and downgrade viewers' morality.
In late February, five young women wearing brightly colored balaclavas performed a "punk-style" prayer at the altar of Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. An edited video of their performance that was posted on the Internet caused a public outcry. Members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria 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 stage and did not actually participate in the protest.
The judge left Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina's sentences intact.