Pussy Riot Are Suing Russia

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are taking the Kremlin to Human Rights Court

Pussy Riot Sue Russian Government
Maria Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova at a May News Conference Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
WRITTEN BY
Colin Joyce

Seven months after they received amnesty for their 2012 demonstration at a Moscow church, Pussy Riot's most prominent members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova have filed suit against the Russian Government for human rights violations. According to The Guardian, the punk protesters are seeking €120,000 (over $161,000) each for the treatment they received during the investigation and prosecution of their case, plus €10,000 ($13,437) in legal fees.

But if the monetary compensation seems like an unprincipled goal for the famed dissenters, their legal council suggest that the suit, filed in European Court of Human Rights, has a political motivation as well.

"They want this case to set a precedent [which says] that Russians can speak publicly on sensitive political issues, even if this speech is not supported by [the] majority," said Pavel Chikov, the head of the legal group representing the women. "They didn't get [a] fair trial here in Russia so they want to get it finally in the European court of human rights."

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were convicted of hooliganism and sentenced to two years in prison in 2012, but they were released early in December of last year, a move which was seen as an attempt to dispel criticism of Russia's government prior to this year's Olympics in Sochi.

In the time since, the two women have gone on a political tour of sorts that's taken them to the Today show, the Colbert Report, the United States Senate, and Barclays Center among other places, if their legal counsel is to be believed, this trial will be just their latest attempt to win free speech rights in their home country.

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