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Hollywood stars sign open letter urging Russia to drop (new) charges against Pussy Riot activists

Source: Meduza

Dozens of actors, musicians, and directors from the United States and Europe have signed an open letter calling on the Russian authorities to drop the charges against Pussy Riot activists Maria Alyokhina and Lyusya Shtein, Pussy Riot told Meduza on Wednesday, March 17. 

Alyokhina and Shtein are currently under house arrest as suspects in the “sanitary case.” They stand accused of calling for participation in unauthorized demonstration in support of jailed opposition politician Alexey Navalny — according to the authorities, this effectively incited people to violate the sanitary and epidemiological measures put in place amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to Alyokhina and Shtein, there are eight other suspects in the case: Doctors’ Alliance Chairwoman Anastasia Vasilieva, Navalny’s brother Oleg Navalny, Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) employee Lyubov Sobol, Navalny staffers Oleg Stepanov and Nikolay Lyaskin, Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh, and municipal deputy Dmitry Baranovsky. They have all been under house arrest since late January.

More than 40 cultural figures signed the letter, including director Whoopi Goldberg, actresses Gillian Anderson and Mia Farrow, actor Mike Farrel, and musicians Peter Gabriel and Tom Morello. 

The letter underscores that the persecution of the Pussy Riot activists is a direct violation of human rights and international standards of political freedom. As such, the signatories are calling on the Russian government to drop all charges against Maria Alyokhina and Lyusya Shtein. 

“We condemn the persecution of peaceful demonstrators, who, according to numerous testimonies, are being beaten, tortured, and imprisoned in conditions dangerous for their health for participation in the rallies. Persecution based on political views is unacceptable in a civilized society.” 

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