|Russian police detaining a protester (Source: RT)|
UPDATED 8:00 PM. Portal-Credo Reports that in apparent protest, a man present in protests has cut open his wrists before vigil at the Cathedral.
Illegally entering a Church altar, chanting profane hymns that are insulting to God, leading a service without ecclesiastical authorization, inciting anger throughout Russia.
Are we talking about the Moscow Patriarchate? Well, we could be. But nope, we’re talking about Pussy Riot, a Moscow-based feminist punk collective that apparently is being tried under charges of hooliganism, a charge largely used for violent nationalists who murder little foreign kids. To be honest, it’s unclear what is worse– that these people are being effectively being tried on murder charges for trespassing, or that the penalty for killing little foreign kids is a maximum of seven years.
The continued detention of the girls and the severity of their possible punishment are a matter of great controversy in Russia. Many people call it disproportionate to their wrongdoing and say the Russian Orthodox Church has a hand in how the case is being prosecuted.
Dozens of leading artists and intellectuals signed a petition last month calling for Pussy Riot’s release on bail and a substitution of criminal charges with administrative ones.
“The girls didn’t murder anyone, didn’t rob or use violence, didn’t damage or steal anyone’s property. Russia is a secular state, and no anti-clerical action can be reason for a criminal prosecution, unless it violates the criminal code,” the letter insisted.
Many human rights activists see Pussy Riot’s position as unnecessarily harsh.
“There’s one problem that must be solved as soon as possible – it should preferably have been solved yesterday: why on earth are they still behind bars?” Vladimir Lukin, Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner said, commenting on the girl’s months-long detention. “Why are they behind bars without a prompt trial?”
The majority of Muscovites seems to sympathize with the band already. According to a poll conducted by the independent Levada Center released on Friday, over 50 per cent of respondents said they were against a criminal trial for Pussy Riot, with only 36 per cent supporting the trial.