Amnesty International: Take Action

AI-Index: EUR 46/017/2012

Three young women are being detained by the Russian authorities for allegedly performing a protest song in a cathedral as part of a feminist punk group ‘Pussy Riot’. On 19 April, a Moscow court extended the detention of the women until 24 June.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina were arrested on 4 March, and Ekaterina Samutsevich was arrested on 15 March. The three women, who are all in their twenties, have been charged with hooliganism under Article 213 of the Russian Criminal Code, for allegedly performing a protest song in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral on 21 February. If found guilty, they could be jailed for up to seven years. The three women deny any involvement in the protest in the cathedral. The defence has appealed against the extension of the three women’s detention. The date of the appeal hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Since the three women’s arrest, some of their family members as well as one of their lawyers have received threats. Even though the police and the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office have been informed about these threats, there appears to be no investigation into the incidents. In addition, the tax authorities have reportedly blocked the bank account of the lawyers’ association where the lawyer of one of the three women works. The lawyers think that this is intended to put pressure on the lawyers to withdraw from the case.
The protest song titled ‘Virgin Mary, redeem us of Putin’ was performed by several members of the ‘Pussy Riot’ group with their faces covered by balaclavas. The song calls on Virgin Mary to become a feminist and banish Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin. It also criticises the dedication and support shown to President-elect Vladimir Putin by some representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church. The performance was part of wider protests against Putin and unfair elections in Russia. This, and the anti-clerical, anti-Putin content of the song’s message, appears to have been reflected in the severity of the charges that have been brought against the three women.

Please write immediately in Russian or your own language:

  • Calling on the Russian authorities to drop the charges of hooliganism and immediately and unconditionally release Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova;
  • Urging the Russian authorities to immediately and impartially investigate threats received by the family members and lawyers of the three women and, if necessary, ensure their protection;


Prosecutor of the Moscow’s Central Administrative District,
Denis Gennadievich Popov,
Prosecutor’s Office of the Central Administrative District,
ul. L.Tolstogo, 8, str.1,
Moscow 119021,
Russian Federation.
Fax: +7 499 245 77 56 
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor

Prosecutor General,
Yurii Yakovlevich Chaika,
ul. B.Dimitrovka, d. 15a,
Moscow, GSP-3, 107048,
Russian Federation.
Fax: +7 495 692 1725 (if the fax number is answered by a live operator please say clearly "FAX")
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor General

Head of the Investigative Department,
Igor Victorovich Litvinov,
Investigative Department of the Directorate of the Internal Affairs (YVD) for Central Administrative District,
Ul.Sredniaia Kalitnikovskaia, 31,
Moscow 109029,
Russian Federation.
Fax: +7 495 675 39 80 (if the fax number is answered by a live operator please say clearly "FAX")

Ambassade de la Fédération de Russie,
Brunnadernrain 37,
3006 Berne.
Fax: 031 352 55 95
A.I. Call to Action: