Pussy Riot trial 'is like medieval inquisition'

 

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Russia's most famous prisoner yesterday likened the trial of the three women from the Pussy Riot band to a medieval inquisition.

The jailed former oil tycoon, Mik hail Khodorkovsky, called for the women to be treated leniently because of their age and said the way in which they were being held brought shame on Russia.

His intervention into the debate about the trial of Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, may bolster accusations by President Vladimir Putin's enemies that the legal proceedings are politically motivated and part of a wider crackdown on dissent.

"It's painful to follow events in Moscow's Khamovnichesky court," said Khodorkovsky, the 49-year-old former head of oil company Yukos, who was arrested in 2003 and jailed the following year on fraud and tax evasion charges. "The word 'tried' can be used here only in the sense in which it was used by medieval inquisitors."

The trio are on trial for storming the altar of Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral on 21 February and belting out a profanity-laced "punk prayer" calling on the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin. The defence team said the verdict could be announced this week.

REUTERS

Comments