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Madonna condemns Pussy Riot verdict
Aug. 20, 2012, 9:34 AM EST
Madonna may be saddled with her own share of
Russian troubles right now, facing a $10.5 million lawsuit brought by a group of
activists offended by the "moral damage" she caused at her St. Petersburg
concert by challenging the city's gay pride ban. Yet the pop star is continuing
to lend her support to jailed Russian punk trio Pussy Riot. On Saturday, she
released a statement condemning Friday's conviction of the group on charges of
"hooliganism motivated by religious hatred."
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"I protest the conviction and sentencing of Pussy Riot to a penal colony for
two years for a 40 second performance extolling their political opinions,"
Madonna said in a statement on her website. "Even if one disagrees with the
location or how they chose to express themselves, the sentence is too harsh and,
in fact, is inhumane. I call on all those who love freedom to condemn this
unjust punishment. I urge artists around the world to speak up in protest
against this travesty. They've spent enough time in jail. I call on ALL of
Russia to let Pussy Riot go free."
Madonna had taken a moment during her August 7th concert in Moscow to urge
Russian authorities to free Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria
Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich. She also wore a Pussy Riot-style balaclava
during the concert and had the band's name written on her back.
More: Madonna faces $10.5M suit over LGBT support in
The band has drawn a wide array of international support to their cause,
including musicians like Patti Smith, Paul McCartney, Sting and the Red Hot
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