Paul McCartney Shows Support for Jailed Russian Rockers After One Begins Hunger Strike
Mary McCartney/MPL Communications Ltd.Paul McCartney has once again spoken out in support of the jailed members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot after one of the imprisoned musicians, Maria Alyokhina, began a hunger strike Wednesday in protest of her treatment at a recent parole hearing. According to The Guardian, Alyokhina started the protest after she was denied the right to attend her hearing in the Russian city of Berezniki.
Following Maria's announcement, McCartney sent handwritten letters to Russian officials asking that they consider granting parole to both Alyokhina and her band mate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.
On behalf of Alyokhina, Sir Paul wrote, "My personal belief is that further incarceration for Maria will be harmful for her and the situation as a whole, which, of course, is being watched by people all over the world." He added, "In the great tradition of fair-mindedness which the Russian people (many of whom are my friends) are famous for, I believe that you granting this request would send a very positive message to all the people who have followed this case."
With regard to Nadezhda, who was denied parole last month, McCartney wrote, "I have had a long relationship with the Russian people, and, with this in mind, I am making the following request in a spirit of friendship for my many Russian acquaintances who, like me, believe in treating people - all people, with compassion and kindness."
Alyokhina, Tolokonnikova and their band mate Yekaterina Samutsevich were arrested in March 2012 for hooliganism after Pussy Riot staged an unauthorized concert at Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, described by authorities as "blasphemous." Following the trio's arrest, McCartney was among the many artists who sent letters to the Russian authorities imploring them to release the musicians. However, the three rockers were convicted in August and sentenced to two years in prison. Samutsevich was released on probation in October 2012.
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