Women in Music 2019

Russia Agrees to Pay Pussy Riot Members Following Human Rights Court Ruling

Matthew Eisman/Getty Images for Icelandic Glacial
Pussy Riot performs at Secret Solstice Festival powered by Icelandic Glacial on June 21, 2019 in Reykjavik, Iceland. 

MOSCOW — The Russian government has paid members of the punk band Pussy Riot €37,000 awarded by the European Human Rights Court (EHRC), the band's member Petr Verzilov said on the air of Echo of Moscow radio station on Wednesday.  

"Russia has complied with EHRC's decision and paid €37,000 to Pussy Riot participants," he said.  

The ECHR ruling was announced last year, and it wasn't clear until very recently, if the Russian government was going to comply with it. Lately, there have been reports that Russia, unhappy with several ECHR rulings, might stop cooperation with the international human rights body.

Under the ruling, Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who received two-year sentences for the "punk prayer" at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in February 2012, and ended up serving 20 months, were awarded €16,000 each.

Another Pussy Riot member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, who was released on probation after several months in jail, was awarded €5,000.

In its ruling, ECHR pointed out numerous human rights violations, including "the overcrowded conditions of the band members’ transportation to and from the courtroom to attend hearings on their cases and because they had had to suffer the humiliation of being permanently exposed in a glass dock during their hearings, surrounded by armed police officers and a guard dog, despite no evident security risk."

ECHR also condemned Russia's sentencing the Pussy Riot members "without analyzing the lyrics of their song or the context of their performance, was exceptionally severe."

According to Verzilov, the reward will be mostly spent on maintaining the online human rights magazine Mediazona, which he founded with Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova.


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