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Music heavyweights U2, Bruce Springsteen, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Paul McCartney and more have signed a letter through Amnesty International calling for the immediate release of the band Pussy Riot.
Hundreds of other artists have also co-signed the letter aimed at putting pressure on the Russian government currently forcing Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina to serve a two year sentence for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility”
The letter reads as follows:
“As the one-year anniversary of your trial approaches, we are writing to assure you that, around the world, people are both still thinking of you and working for your release. Although you were the most visible of the protesters, we know that there were many other young people who have suffered in the protests, about whom we are also very concerned. But, in many ways, through your imprisonment, you have come to represent them.
“Many artists voiced their concern when these charges were first brought against you, we had every hope that the authorities, in dealing with you, would show some understanding, a sense of proportion, even some of the wonderful Russian sense of humour, but none of the above were forthcoming.
“The impact of your shockingly unjust trial and imprisonment has spread far and wide. Especially among your fellow artists, musicians and citizens around the world, including the many parents who feel your anguish at being separated from your children. While understanding the sensitivities of protesting in a place of worship, we ask that the Russian authorities review these harsh sentences, so that you may return to your children, your families and your lives.
“The right to freedom of expression and dissent is a legitimate one and essential in any kind of democracy. You have been accused of what could be described as ‘a victimless’ crime, but in our opinion, in a just society, there can be no crime where there is no identifiable ‘victim’.
“Your strength, bravery and fearlessness are an inspiration to us all.”
If you want to learn more about the incredible story of these courageous women – make sure you check out the HBO documentary A Punk Prayer – which is available on-demand now