Subtitle 

Cathy Ashton blasts 'Pussy Riot' sentence

17.08.2012 - 16:36

The head of the EU's External Action Service, Baroness Ashton has criticised the sentencing of three young women for two years after a Russian court found them guilty of "hooliganism" at a protest.

"This sentence is disproportionate," she said in a statement. "Together with the reports of the band members’ mistreatment during their pre-trial detention and the reported irregularities of the trial, it puts a serious question mark over Russia’s respect for international obligations of fair, transparent, and independent legal process. It also runs counter to Russia’s international obligations as regards respect for freedom of expression. This case adds to the recent upsurge in politically motivated intimidation and prosecution of opposition activists in the Russian Federation, a trend that is of growing concern to
the European Union. Respect for human rights and the rule of law is an indispensable part of the EU-Russia relationship."

She continued, "Sentencing of the three young women, two of whom are mothers of small children, to two years in prison for a peaceful, if controversial, expression of their views, is deeply troubling. I expect that this sentence will be reviewed and reversed in line with Russia’s international commitments."