Former Pussy Riot lawyers' defamation suit to be heard on August 20
MOSCOW, August 9 (RAPSI) - The Tverskoi District Court in Moscow has postponed until August 20 the hearing of the defamation lawsuit filed by the former Pussy Riot lawyers against Kommersant Publishers and lawyer Irina Khrunova, who represented one of the punk group members during the cassation stage, RAPSI reported from the courtroom on Friday.
Judge Denis Ivanov thus gave the plaintiffs time for carrying out their own linguistic examination of the disputed article.
On Friday, the defendants submitted the results of the expert analysis. Their examination established that there were no insulting and detractive phrases in the publication.
The plaintiffs failed to agree with the findings of experts and requested for a forensic examination, but the court rejected the motion.
Nikolai Polozov, Mark Feygin and Violetta Volkova filed a defamation lawsuit after Kommersant published an article titled, "A punk prayer can take you to Strasbourg."
Polozov said the group's former lawyers were portrayed in the article as incompetent for failing to send the necessary documents to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg on time, while in fact the ECHR had accepted their complaint and even assigned it a number.
The lawsuit against Khrunova stems from her statement in the article that: "When the defense team filed the first complaint (with the ECHR), the court asked them to send additional documents, but they did not submit them to the court, so the application hasn't even been considered for review."
The plaintiffs have asked the court to have the defendants publish a refutation and to pay them damages, with Kommersant Publishers to pay 500,000 rubles ($15,330) to each plaintiff and Khrunova to pay 50,000 rubles ($1,533) to each plaintiff.
In February 2012, five young women wearing brightly colored balaclavas staged a punk rock prayer in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. An edited video of their performance was posted on the Internet and caused a public outcry.
In August 2012, the Khamovnichesky District Court sentenced Yekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina to two years in a prison settlement for hooliganism.
In October 2012, the Moscow City Court changed Samutsevich's verdict to a suspended sentence and released her immediately based on her new attorneys' argument that she had been seized by security guards prior to reaching the altar.
The sentences of Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were upheld.
In April 2013, the Zubova Polyana District Court in Mordovia rejected Tolokonnikova's request for parole. Alyokhina's request for parole was rejected by the Berezniki court on May 23.
The three women were represented in court by Volkova, Polozov and Feygin. Shortly before her appeal was considered by the court, Samutsevich rejected Volkova's services. Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina also replaced their lawyers later when they were already in custody.