Adele, PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, Paul McCartney call for Pussy Riot's release in open letter

Over 100 musicians have called for the release of the imprisoned Russian punks

Adele, PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, Paul McCartney call for Pussy Riot's release in open letter

Photo: Dan Dennison/NME

Over 100 musicians including Adele, PJ Harvey, Paul McCartney and Patti Smith have signed a letter calling for the release of imprisoned Russian punks Pussy Riot.

In the open letter, coordinated by Amnesty International, the artists pledge their support to 25-year-old Maria Alekhina and 23-year old Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who are currently serving two year sentences for breach of public order motivated by religious hatred after they storied into Moscow's main cathedral to perform their now-infamous "punk prayer". The sentences were handed to them in August 2012. The letter comes ahead of parole hearings for the two women his week (July 24 and 26).

"Dear Masha and Nadia," the letter reads. "As the one-year anniversary of your trial approaches, we are writing to assure you that, around the world, people are both still thinking of you and working for your release. Although you were the most visible of the protesters, we know that there were many other young people who have suffered in the protests, about whom we are also very concerned. But, in many ways, through your imprisonment, you have come to represent them.

"Many artists voiced their concern when these charges were first brought against you, we had every hope that the authorities, in dealing with you, would show some understanding, a sense of proportion, even some of the wonderful Russian sense of humour, but none of the above were forthcoming.

"The impact of your shockingly unjust trial and imprisonment has spread far and wide. Especially among your fellow artists, musicians and citizens around the world, including the many parents who feel your anguish at being separated from your children. While understanding the sensitivities of protesting in a place of worship, we ask that the Russian authorities review these harsh sentences, so that you may return to your children, your families and your lives. The right to freedom of expression and dissent is a legitimate one and essential in any kind of democracy."

The letter concludes: "You have been accused of what could be described as ‘a victimless’ crime, but in our opinion, in a just society, there can be no crime where there is no identifiable ‘victim’. Your strength, bravery and fearlessness are an inspiration to us all."

The full list of artists who have signed the letter is as follows: Bryan Adams, Adele, Alt-J, Laurie Anderson, Animal Collective, Anti-Flag, Arcade Fire, Arch Enemy, Archive, Joan Armatrading, Joan Baez, Beardyman, Jeff Beck, Yasiin Bey, björk, Rubén Blades, Billy Bragg, Jackson Browne, Peter Buck, Tracy Chapman, Chase & Status, The Chemical Brothers, Neneh Cherry, The Clash, Coldplay, Lily Rose Cooper, Dido, Django Django, Melissa Etheridge, Siobhan Fahey, Paloma Faith, First Aid Kit, Franz Ferdinand, Foster the People, fun., Peter Gabriel, Bob Geldof, Kim Gordon, Debbie Harry, PJ Harvey, Don Henley, The Hidden Cameras, Niall Horan, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Ke$ha, Angelique Kidjo, The Knife, Mark Knopfler, Tom Lehrer, Sean Lennon, Annie Lennox, Lykke Li, Sir Paul McCartney, Romy Madley-Croft, Madonna, Zayn Malik, Stephen Malkmus, Marina & The Diamonds, Johnny Marr, Massive Attack, Mike Mills, Moby, Thurston Moore, Tom Morello, Alanis Morissette, James Morrison, Graham Nash, Kate Nash, Youssou N'Dour, Karen O, Yoko Ono, Clock Opera, Ozzy Osbourne, Liam Payne, Peaches, Joe Perry, Phoenix, Rain Phoenix, Portishead, Portugal. The Man, Cat Power, Radiohead, Bonnie Raitt, Rise Against, Patti Scialfa, Scissor Sisters, Paul Simon, Sleigh Bells, Patti Smith, Esperanza Spalding, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Stewart, Sting, Michael Stipe, Harry Styles, Neil Tennant, Louis Tomlinson, Pete Townshend, K T Tunstall, U2, Eddie Vedder.

Read More On This Artist

More News
Mark Ronson tops both the UK's Official Singles and Official Albums Chart
Jenny Lewis and Ryan Adams appear on TV show 'Austin City Limits' – watch
Korn and Slipknot cover Beastie Boys' 'Sabotage' live in London – watch
A$AP Rocky opens up about the death of A$AP Yams for the first time
Courtney Love attends premiere of Kurt Cobain documentary 'Cobain: Montage of Heck'
Run The Jewels preview feline remix album 'Meow The Jewels' featuring Lil Bub the cat
Ghostface Killah and MF DOOM unveil grindhouse cinema-themed 'Ray Gun' video – watch
Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney unveil collaboration track 'FourFiveSeconds' –...
Jay Z commends New York Governor's plan to improve police relations
Ryan Adams performs acoustic version of 'Gimme Something Good' on US TV
Alt-J play biggest headline show of their career at London's O2 Arena
Groove Armada lead latest Isle Of Wight Festival line-up additions
Lil Wayne reportedly set to sue Cash Money boss Birdman for $8m
Guitar owned by Johnny Ramone sells at auction for £47,950
Pond reveal epic 'Man It Feels Like Space Again' video - watch
Noel Gallagher says Oasis will only ever reform 'for the money'
Arca says working with Bjork on 'Vulnicura' was 'everything an artistic...
Aphex Twin streams 'Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments PT2' EP - listen
Ryan Adams and Mandy Moore separate after five years of marriage
Fall Out Boy team up with Wiz Khalifa on 'Uma Thurman' remix - listen
Danny Brown, Big Sean feature in Eminem's 'Detroit Vs Everybody' video - watch
Bob Dylan to gift new album to 50,000 senior citizens

More News

Comments

Please login to add your comment.

Latest Tickets - Booking Now
 
Know Your NME
 

 
NME Store & Framed Prints
Inside NME.COM