Pussy Riot Members Sue Russian Authorities Over Alleged Failure to Investigate Whipping Incident

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Nadya Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot answer questions after meeting with U.S. senators, including Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) at the U.S. Capitol May 6, 2014 in Washington, DC.

Pussy Riot’s members have sued Russian authorities for allegedly failing to properly investigate a whipping incident that took place during the filming of a video last year.

The Russian daily Vedomosti quoted Alexander Popkov, a lawyer for Pussy Riot, as saying that the suit had been filed to the European Court of Human Rights.

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The lawsuit was filed by Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina — who both served almost two years in prison for an anti-Putin "punk prayer" in a Moscow cathedral in February 2012 — with Tolokonnikova's husband Piotr Verzilov, artist Lusine Dhanyan and political activist Alexei Nekrasov.

Pussy Riot members and Popkov could not be immediately reached for comment.

The incident occurred in Sochi on Feb. 18, 2014, at a time when the Winter Olympics were in progress in the Black Sea resort city. The band was about to perform a song called "Putin Will Teach You How to Love Your Motherland" and film the performance for a video, when they were violently attacked by a group of local Cossacks armed with horse whips and pepper spray.

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Some footage of the whipping was later included in the video.

In the wake of the incident, authorities in Krasnodar region, of which Sochi is part, promised to investigate the attack. Two days later, one of the attackers was fined for public disorder, but police refused to open a criminal investigation, citing lack of corpus delicti as a reason.

Since their release from prison in December 2014, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina have remained in the international limelight, most recently appearing in a House of Cards episode playing themselves


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