Pussy Riot sue Russian police over ‘whipping’ incident at Sochi Olympics

Members of the punk protest group were attacked with whips by Cossack militia in February 2014

Members of Pussy Riot are suing Russian authorities after allegedly being attacked with whips by Cossack militia at the Sochi Winter Olympics during February 2014.

Various members of the punk protest group – including Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who were famously imprisoned in Russia in 2012 – claim to have been attacked by both uniformed Cossacks and security men as they attempted to perform in the Russian city, where the Winter Olympics were taking place. It is alleged that one of the Cossacks used pepper spray on members of the group. The altercation is said to have lasted several minutes and left one Pussy Riot member with a bloodied face. The incident was documented on film, with a video showing the alleged abuse of the police streaming below.

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Russian newspaper Vedomosti have now quoted Pussy Riot’s lawyer Alexander Popkov as confirming that a lawsuit related to the incident had been filed to the European Court of Human Rights. The suit is said to have been filed by Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, along with Tolokonnikova’s husband Piotr Verzilov and others.

Watch footage of the alleged incident below.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were imprisoned for 16 months in their native Russia in 2012 after performing their punk protest prayer ‘Mother of God, Drive Putin Away’ inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ The Saviour.

Pussy Riot recently released their first English language song ‘I Can’t Breathe’ – a protest song featuring Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner on bass and Richard Hell reading Eric Garner’s final words. Garner died in July 2014 after a US police officer allegedly put him in a chokehold.

See Pussy Riot speaking to NME from prison in the video below.