Kasparov arrested and beaten at Pussy Riot trial
Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk-rock band collective which stages politically
provocative impromptu performances in Moscow on Russia's current political life.
In March 2012, during an improvised and unauthorized concert in Moscow's Cathedral
of Christ the Saviour, three women from the band were arrested and charged with
'hooliganism'. Alexei Nikiforov, a federal prosecutor, demanded prison for the
trio because they 'abused God'. Pussy Riot's lawyers said that the circumstances
of the case have revived the Soviet-era tradition of the show trial. Read more
A Moscow judge handed down prison sentences of two years on Friday afternoon
for three young women who staged a protest against Vladimir V. Putin in the
Cathedral of Christ the Savior last February and whose jailing and trial on
hooliganism charges have generated worldwide criticism of constraints on political
speech in Russia.
New York Times tells us: As the judge, Marina Syrova, read the lengthy verdict,
hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the courthouse and shouted, “Free
Pussy Riot!” Riot police officers arrested dozens of them, including the
former chess champion Garry Kasparov, who is active in the Russian political
opposition. Mr. Kasparov fought with the police and appeared to be beaten as
he was bundled into a paddy wagon."
Our contacts tell us that he was outside the court house speaking to Radio
Svoboda journalists when police pushed through to seize him. The 49-year-old
Kasparov insisted he was not protesting, but the police grabbed him and violently
dragged him into a police van, where he was further physically assaulted by
the police, as documented by a photographer.
Kasparov is a long-time Russian pro-democracy leader. He chairs the United
Civil Front in Russia and the US-based Human Rights Foundation, which issued
report on the Pussy Riot trial on Thursday. The report analyzed the case
under the European standard of protection of freedom of expression and concluded
that the arrest, bail denial, and criminal trial against the three women violated
Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. “These young women
have committed no crime. Their protest performance, while understandably offending
some at the church that day, constitutes political speech that should be unconditionally
protected,” said Garry Kasparov, chairman of HRF. “Having them imprisoned
without bail for over five months is unacceptable. Anything but acquittal tomorrow
will be a disgrace and another slap in the face of civilized standards of justice.
If they are not acquitted it will be more proof that so-called Russian democracy
continues to erode under Putin. Without question, Pussy Riot will eventually
obtain a favorable verdict at the European Court of Human Rights.”
Latest: On his Facebook page we read, "Garry
is going from the police station to the hospital to check his injuries and
to confirm he is not intoxicated or biting anyone! Then he may have to go
back to the police station briefly tonight, and again next week. It seems
the police really want to use this 'biting an officer' story as a threat to
charge Kasparov with assault. Even though there's a video of Garry being carried
away by four large police officers. I hope the next update here will be by
Garry himself at his home in Moscow!"
There are almost two thousand reports in the news media, and it will be all
over the TV news this evening. We have selected a few for you to read. Click
on the images to jump to the news stories. Naturally we will be following the
development closely and will update you as more news comes in. In the meantime
you can follow things on Kasparov's Facebook page and Mig Greengard's Twitter
feed (at the bottom of the page). The first BBC link here provides dramatic
Updates are being posted at
You can also contact Mig Greengard at +1 917.495.9460 or firstname.lastname@example.org.