July 28, 2014 21:09

Pussy Riot to sue Russian government over imprisonment

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are seeking £95,000 each in compensation

Pussy Riot to sue Russian government over imprisonment

Photo: Getty

The two freed members of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, are to sue the Russian government over their imprisonment for their 2012 'punk prayer' protest.

The Guardian reports that the two women are seeking €120,000 (£95,000) each in compensation, as well as €10,000 in court fees. They both served 21 months in prison, and were released in December last year because of a nationwide prison amnesty.

Pavel Chikov is the head of the human rights legal group Agora, which is representing them. He has commented: "They didn't get a fair trial here in Russia, so they want to get it finally in the European court of human rights. Plus they want this case to set a precedent that Russians can speak publicly on sensitive political issues, even if this speech is not supported by [the] majority. This is a case about freedom of expression and fair trial first of all."

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina recently set up an English Twitter account. Their first tweet, posted on May 5, took a swipe at censorship in Russia. "Russia is not China or Iran YET, so since we can still use Twitter, we will give a shot at running it in English, so hi to everyone here!" Further tweets condemned Wall Street, Putin and called Capitol Hill "Capitol Hell".

Since their release, Pussy Riot have been continuing their political activism. They launched their prisoners' rights group, Zona Prava – which translates as Law Zone. "In our country, as long as cases of prisoners' rights' violation take place, we are sure that there will be a need for our organisation," Tolokonnikova said at the launch event.

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