Madonna Shows Support for Pussy Riot as Verdict is Delayed
Madonna has shown her support for Pussy Riot and used the Moscow leg of her controversial tour to speak out about the jailed punk band.The band are on trial in Moscow charged with hooliganism on the grounds of religious hatred, after their performance at an Orthodox Cathedral in which their song mocks Russian President Vladimir Putin and now face up to seven years in jail.
Halfway through her set on tuesday night Madonna called for Maria Aloykhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samutsevich to be released.
'I just want to say a few words about Pussy Riot. I know there are many sides to every story; I mean no disrespect to the church or the government. But I think that these three girls- Masha, Katya, Nadya - I think that they have done something courageous. I think they have paid the price for this act and I pray for their freedom'
She continued 'I know that everyone here in this auditorium - if you're here as my fan - feels they deserve the right to be free. So to these three girls who’ve been in jail now for five months, who are going through a trial right now I pray for your freedom, I know we all pray for your freedom and lets hope that one day we really will live in a world filled with peace and freedom and tolerance'. The singer then went onto perform 'Like a Virgin' complete with banaclava similar to those worn by the punk band and stripped down to her bra where the words 'Pussy Riot' were stamped on her back.
Madonna has angered Orthodox groups before with use of Christian imagery in her shows. Before the gig in Moscow a group of Orthodox Christians protested against the concert and the US embassy issused a statement warning of the 'threat of physical violence' targeted at performers and audience members.
Three members of Pussy Riot were arrested in March following their performance of a song called 'Holy Shit' as a protest against the Orthodox Christian churchs support for Russian President Vladimir Putin. A verdict was meant to be made on the trial yesterday but has since been delayed until the 17th August.
The members of the band who have been imprisoned delivered their closing arguments yesterday. 'This is a trial of the whole government system of Russia, which so likes to show its harshness toward the individual, its indifference to his honour and dignity,If this political system throws itself against three girls it shows this political system is afraid of truth' said Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. She went on to say Who is to blame for what happened at Christ the Savior Cathedral?'. 'The authoritarian system is to blame,Rigidity and castes rule in Russia'
Speaking from a glass cage where her and her bandmates have been for the duration of the nine day trial and wearing a t shirt with the revolutionary slogan 'No Pasaran' emblazoned on the front she said 'Even though we are behind bars, we are freer than those people,We can say what we want, while they can only say what political censorship allows.
Fellow bandmate Alyokhina said 'We are not guilty the whole world is saying this at concerts, in the press, in parliaments, The British prime minister, instead of questioning Putin about the Olympics, asked him why three innocent girls were imprisoned. This is a shame' She added 'I am not scared of you, I'm not scared of lies and fiction, or the badly formed deception that is the verdict of this so-called court. Because my words will live, thanks to openness. When thousands of people will read and watch this, this freedom will grow with every caring person who listens to us in this country.'
The lawyer for the band has been expecting a guilty verdict and three years in jail, however now with increased international attention on the case and with famous stars such as Madonna speaking out he said To take a quick decision under such pressure is very dangerous for the authorities, so they've taken a time out, No matter what the verdict is, we have won '
Story by Claire Duffy | 13:16 | Thursday 9th August 2012 | Music News
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