Release Pussy Riot Members Maria “Masha” Alekhina and Lucy Shteyn!

Pussy Riot members Maria “Masha” Alekhina and Lucy Shteyn will appear in court this week on charges related to their peaceful activism. PEN America and the European Film Academy call for their immediate and unconditional release. Alekhina and Shteyn, founding members of the Russian feminist artists collective Pussy Riot, are charged with “inciting violations of sanitary regulations,” after sharing posts on Instagram encouraging people to join protests decrying the jailing of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny. Both Alekhina and Shteyn have spent the past two months under house arrest and face up to two years imprisonment.

“Pussy Riot has been a major beacon of hope for democracy in Russia,” said Mike Downey, chairman of the European Film Academy. “The courage of Masha Alekhina and Lucy Shteyn to selflessly stand up for human rights in Putin’s Russia, defending dissents like Oleg Sentsov and Alexei Navalny, has been nothing short of heroic. On behalf of the European Film Academy, its President Agnieszka Holland, Matthijs Wouter Knol, its director, and members like Pedro Almodovar, Stephen Daldry and Pawel Pawlikowski, we stand in solidarity with Pussy Riot and call on the Russian government to release them immediately.”

read more