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Ruling in court case expected Friday

Swedish PEN demands release of Pussy Riot

Published fredag 17 augusti 2012 kl 10.52
Pussy Riot band members Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, on trial for 'hooliganism and blasphemy'. Photo: Scanpix/ Mikhail Metzel

Swedish PEN has made the Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot honorary members. The organisation also demands that the band members be released immediately.

The three Russian band members - Marija Aljochina, Jekaerina Samutsevitj and Nadezjda Tolokonnikova - stand accused of hooliganism, blasphemy and insulting the Russian Orthodox Church, and have been tried in a Moscow court. They were arrested after they gave a performance that was critical of the regime in a Moscow cathedral earlier this year.

A press statement published on the organisation's web site, reads, "Swedish PEN protests the arrest and prosecution of Pussy Riot, who were exercising their right to free speech, and demands that the band members be released immediately."

The band members were made honorary members of the organization at its board meeting on August 14.

The trial against the three band members started at the end of July, and a ruling in the case is expected Friday.

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