Pussy Riot member requests probe into hooliganism law
MOSCOW, June 3 (RAPSI) - Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has filed a petition with the Constitutional Court that would require an inquiry into the enforcement of the law on hooliganism, her representative Ramil Akhmetgaliyev told RAPSI Tuesday.
“We believe the hooliganism law under which the punk band member was convicted contradicts the Constitution – specifically, the guaranteed freedom of expression,” he said.
The lawyer added that, according to the warrant, the young women were technically accused of breaching religious convention, which runs counter to the principle of separation of church and state. Akhmetgaliyev did not estimate how long the court would take to consider Tolokonnikova’s suit or how soon a ruling could be expected.
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 in Moscow sentenced Tolokonnikova and two other Pussy Riot members - Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich - 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.
Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were recently freed after serving almost 21 months of a two-year sentence for hooliganism. They were jailed for performing the “punk prayer” in Moscow’s Christ the Savior cathedral as part of a political protest in 2012.
The activists were pardoned in December 2013, pursuant to a broad amnesty initiated by Russian President Vladimir Putin.