Russia Confirms To The World That It's Not A Fan Of Free Speech: Pussy Riot Gets Two Years In Jail

from the pussy-riot-in-jail dept

Hopefully, many of you have been following the legal fight in Russia over the band/collective Pussy Riot, who performed an anti-Putin song inside a key Moscow cathedral. If so, then you know that, today, the band was sentenced to two years in jail. The sentence could have been worse, but just the fact that they’re being punished, at all, for expressing their views is troubling enough. The three women have already been in jail since March, while the case moved forward. At the beginning, it was assumed that they would end up with jail sentences, but there had been some hope that the Russian judiciary would recognize the general horror of the rest of the world at the case and perhaps back down. The women are planning to appeal, so this isn’t over yet.

Either way, the verdict is unfortunate in many ways. We talk about free speech issues all the time around here, and we recognize that other countries don’t always view freedom of speech as being as central or as important as the US does. That said, the whole idea that a band would end up in jail over political speech should be distressing and problematic to anyone with a developed sense of “right” and “wrong.” Some will say this isn’t surprising, or that this is the way that some countries operate, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still be offended by the decision on principle.

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Comments on “Russia Confirms To The World That It's Not A Fan Of Free Speech: Pussy Riot Gets Two Years In Jail”

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68 Comments
Not an Electronic Rodent says:

Re: Re: Re:

The saddest thing is that I don’t doubt that the people of the US are inherently good. I just wish or government truly reflected it’s people’s positions.

I agree with you about the people, but I don’t think the blame can be entirely laid at the feet of the government – I think as nations both the US and the UK (and others) suffer from the”Meetings effect

sgt_doom (profile) says:

Re: And why Assange and Pussy Riot matter

A WikiLeaks Primer

Originally, WikiLeaks? Julian Assange fled Iceland as he was under surveillance by business-suited strangers, plus he was tipped off by the bank where the WikiLeaks? account was located that they had been approached by US government personnel.

In Sweden, Assange was immediately approached by a Bonnier family publication for exclusive rights in publishing WikiLeaked documents. Assange declined their offer, both against the principle of exclusivity, and because he?d been advised that the publication was similar to Rupert Murdoch?s British tabloids; not necessarily respectable.

It is important to understand that the Bonnier family is a major European media family (Bonnier AB is one of the 10 largest media companies in the world), who?s ownership extends to American publications such as Sports Illustrated, Popular Science, Time, etc.

The woman who first approached Assange for consensual sex, Anna Ardin, worked for one of the Bonnier family publications, and while her present source of income is difficult to determine, she appears to be surviving nicely. Ardin would later approach the second young lady, Sofia Wilen (who also had consensual sex with Assange), to accompany her to the police.

The law firm which volunteered to represent the two women is comprised of two law partners, Claes Borgstrom, who has two sisters who work for Bonnier family companies, and Thomas Bodstrom, who publishes through the Bonnier family media company (he writes legal fiction).

Bodstrom was also the Swedish Minister of Justice who had OK?ed the CIA?s illegal kidnapping of several Swedish citizens of Arabic origin — also called extreme rendition — who were transported to Egypt for torture (and what could have led to murder), but were eventually released and sued the Swedish government in Swedish courts, winning a financial judgment against them.

Sweden claims it would never allow extradition to any country with a legalized death penalty, yet by allowing extreme renditions to such countries, we know this to be a lie.

Originally when the women approached the police, a junior prosecutor on duty ordered Assange to remain in Sweden, but the Swedish Prosecution Authority shortly dropped all charges as they had no merit.

Later, after allowing Assange to leave Sweden, and due to political pressure from the highest levels of government, the Swedish Prosecution Authority resumed the case without merit, seeking Assange?s extradition, solely for questioning, in violation of both existing Swedish law, and the regulations pertaining to issuing European Union arrest warrants (two very important points!).

During those early events in Sweden, Anna Ardin had chat message traffic with reporters for a Bonnier family tabloid, Expressen, which indicated criminal conspiracy and malfeasance on her part, and while her attorney, Claes Borgstrom, illegally directed her to delete this evidence, she forgot to delete the copy from her blog site, later downloaded by an enterprising Australian journalist.

Unfortunately, this has received scant attention or reportage in the corporate media.

Later, the other law partner and former Justice Minister, Thomas Bodstrom, went on a book tour in America, where he routinely spread disinformation about the WikiLeaks/Assange case. Much of the time Bodstrom stayed at a residence in Virginia, a short drive from the CIA?s headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

A curious coincidence, or logistical necessity?

The present Justice Minister, Beatrice Ask, who resurrected the extradition case against Assange, was originally appointed to her cabinet positions by Carl Bildt, the former Swedish prime minister who is presently the Swedish foreign minister.

Carl Bildt appears unfavorably mentioned in several WikiLeaked cables, and was a director at Lundin Petroleum during their involvement in massacres of Sudanese living on oil-rich land in that African country.

Later, in America, a relatively unknown author named Jaclyn Friedman, would attempt to publicize the consensual sex case against Assange as rape charges. Friedman?s web site, at that time, displays her boasting of enjoying sex with multiple male partners in a given week?s time, although at times Ms. Friedman claims to be an avowed lesbian?

Perhaps more troubling is that Ms. Friedman was published through Perseus Books, which at that time was owned by the private equity firm, Perseus LLC, which was also listed as the business address, for tax purposes, for the American Friends of Bilderberg, Inc., whose directors are listed as David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger and Richard Perle.

The business contact for that group at Perseus LLC and either the firm?s CEO or a senior executive, was James Johnson, a major character featured in a recent book by NY Times financial reporter, Gretchen Morgenstern, cited as playing a major governmental role in the subprime mortgage meltdown.

A Bonnier family member, Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier, was and still may be the Swedish ambassador to Israel.

Quite a bunch of improbable connections pertaining to a strange case of consensual sex?

[A recent important article on Bradley Manning?s trial can be found at the site below.]

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/the-most-disturbing-thing-about-the-case-against-bradley-manning/Content?oid=14460991

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: And why Assange and Pussy Riot matter

This is all part of a larger problem endemic throughout the world; the concentration of power into a few hands. We are, quite literally, doomed. There are fewer and fewer mom and pop operations each day thanks to corporate greed. Unfortunately they are slitting their own throats by slitting the individual throats of the common man to promote their unfettered greed. The result is less diversity and more sheep like behavior of the masses. We are doomed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Russia may well have confirmed how much it will not tolerate free speech, at least it has done so openly. the US, UK, Sweden and other nations are even worse. they outwardly stand up for it until it is about something or someone they dont like, then those involved are arrested, tortured, put in front of judges in mock trials and imprisoned, never to be heard from again.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Earlier post linked to broken link

It’s not my job to google for it; just to click on the link and read what you guys found. The whole point of posting hyperlinks in Daily Dirt (and other) articles is rendered moot if we’re supposed to (re)do all the work of finding the things ourselves.

Fixing broken links is a site owner’s responsibility, not the users’, except for wiki sites that explicitly give users the power to do the fix themselves and where the links are likely user-contributed to begin with.

Jason says:

Re: Religion is a bitch

Perhaps an trans-temporal interview from Russian history will help us here:

Rept: Now gentlemen, what our viewers really want to know is just how harmful an impact religion has had on freedom in Russia? So, ivan the Great, do you think religion is, or ever was the central problem, for Russian human rights?

Ivan:(Glares)
Rept: Okay, ah, Mr. Stalin? Religion and human rights?
Stalin: Human writes? Yes you need some people to writing, but not the religion writing, I don’t like this.
Putin: Niet, Joseph…(Explaining in russian, making violent gestures, making “X” with his hands)….okay?

Joe: Oh, oh, yes, no,no,no is ah, is about fun, you know just is fun, the whole (fingers quotation marks)”oppression” thing…is fun.

Putin: Yes, I agree. You see, Joe, Dmitri,and me, even Ivan — Good old-Ivan, I like to call him (Ivan glares at him): we are all really just fun guys having fun, you know…our way. Religion? I mean, Joseph, he doesn’t like, Dmitri he likes, Ivan, well heheh, and me, I mean, I like the Easter eggs, so whatever, but human rights, oppression, torture, it is just about good fun, you know?. Whatever is best for you, you do that.

Medvedev: (Shugs, nods)

Ivan: (Glares—a brief, faint smile)

Rept: (blinks) I see.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Religion is a bitch

Gotta love religion. It always comes before freedom.

And you gotta love it more when your country’s politics are heavily influenced by a Church.

Way to Orthodoxy – yet more reasons to despise you.

Note that the church has called for leniency…

Please read the history of church and state in Russia.

You will generally see good influence of church on state – and bad influence of state on church.

And you gotta love it more when your Church is heavily influenced by your country’s politics.

FTFY

JJJoseph (profile) says:

Re: Religion is a bitch

@Travis:”you gotta love it more when your country’s politics are heavily influenced by a Church”

Most countries have the same offence in law. In Canada, for instance, it’s a criminal code offense to make a disturbance in a church. Canadians manage to live with it. The Pussy Rioters would end up in jail in Canada, too. No big deal.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Free speech in the US?

How is free speech on it’s ‘last legs’ here in America? You can still say whatever you want over the internet and in newspapers.

I just do not see how free speech is on it’s last legs in America today, you are going to have to give some examples if you want us to believe that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Free speech in the US?

Hmm,
1. dajaz1.com
2. Mayfield – http://www.doyouhaveasecret.org/
3. mooo.com – http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110220/17533013176/ice-finally-admits-it-totally-screwed-up-next-time-perhaps-itll-try-due-process.shtml

I could give you some more, but it’s quite apparent that the judicial system of the US is being circumvented rather frequently.

DCX2 says:

Re: Re:

Congrats on being the only person to point out that they were interrupting church service (shame on Mike for leaving this detail out).

But it’s a damn shame you had to ruin your comment with a straw man and an exaggeration. They did not “break into a place”, there was no destruction of property. And no one says they shouldn’t be arrested for interfering with the church service and refusing to leave. But I don’t think it’s right for them to serve two years in prison.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Expert” opinion vocalized during proceedings:
“At the same time, the experts concluded, that active political position is a proof of mental disorder. Behavioral abnormalities were detected in all of the defendants, they are manifested in the active defense of their own opinions and inclinations to opposition behaviors. Nevertheless, experts have found that girls are sane, and therefore should be held accountable for their action.”
Sounds like good old days when USSR was keen to send dissidents to psyciatric clinic.

tqk says:

Re: Re:

We should import our assassins to Russia. Putin, FUAD

Overkill, literally. No, what the world needs is all the Putins in the world slipping on banana peels taking a pratfall, and multiple cellphones capturing the events to be uploaded to YouTube.

Sending PR to prison for two years for what they did strikes me as a pratfall. Putin, you still haven’t managed to shake off those KGB roots of yours? Slow are we? What a doofus.

Anonymous Coward says:

had this happened in the USA, would the government taken any notice of what the population thought? no way!! has the fact that the rest of the world, including a multitude of famous celebrities, have joined the condemnation of what was happening/has happened made any difference? of course not!
do the girls think that an appeal will get them anywhere? of course not! it will however get the case back into the spotlight.

almost every country in the world is suppressing or destroying any and all human rights, privacy rights, freedom of speech rights and replacing them with what amounts to dictatorships. the one difference that i see compared to fascist Germany of world war 2 days is that all countries are collaborating to bring about the same changes everywhere. anyone able to tell me i’m wrong and what is actually happening while comments are still allowed?

tqk says:

Re: Re:

the one difference that i see compared to fascist Germany of world war 2 days is that all countries are collaborating to bring about the same changes everywhere. anyone able to tell me i’m wrong and what is actually happening while comments are still allowed?

Not that I’m not sympathetic, but it sure seems they’re pretty bloody incompetent if that’s the aim. We still have a relatively unfettered Internet. We can biatch and moan all we want, and there’s no Gestapo/Stasi/DHS breaking down our doors in retaliation. Hell, look at the travesty the US’ DoJ visited upon Megaupload. That’s damned near laughably incompetent. “What ultramaroons. What im-BEC-iles!” as Bugs Bunny would say.

If this is the level of opposition against us, this’ll be a cakewalk. They’ll bury their own bodies gladly for us.

Richard (profile) says:

Speech is one thing - however...

In communist times the women would have been jailed for merely expressing these opinions.

Julian Assange and Bradley Manning are being persecuted by the US/UK for merelypublishing information.

When you aggravate the situation by the venue or manner of your expression it is quite likely that you will be treated more harshly.

In the UK it seems disrupting a cricket match to get a point across could lead to a similar term of imprisonment as has occurred here.

(Read this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Davis_%28robber%29 if you don’t believe me).

Most countries have things that they are supersensitive about and this church is very sensitive in Russia right now. Remember it was blown up by the Bolsheviks and only rebuilt very recently.

I am sure that there is some monument/event that would provoke a similar reaction in every country if “desecrated”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Putin vs Medvedev

This censorship is being driven by Putin rather than the Russian government as a whole. The rest of them care little about criticism of Putin, but Putin cares. Medvedev was getting corruption cleaned up, a task that Russia desperately needs done, before the presidential election. That should have made him wildly popular, yet he lost to Putin. Then the bad old days of corruption returned.

Does anybody know why Putin is so popular with the Russian people? Why do they love him so? Why did they not appreciate Medvedev? Similarly, why did they not appreciate Gorbachev?

Anonymous Coward says:

It has nothing to do with a free speach

It is so called the crime of hate. The internet, TV, newspapers have a lot of critical conversations about Putin and Co. Stupid girls should choose some other place then cathedral to express them self. By poll 46% of population agree that they should be punished. Maybe not that hard.
By the way, some European countries have similar laws. Someone can get three years of jail time for doing similar show in Germany.

JJ Joseph (profile) says:

Pussy Riot belongs in jail

You guys are walking perilously close to the “fake news” line. What Pussy Riot did is a CRIMINAL offense in most countries. In Canada, acting the ass in a church is an offense under Sec 430(4.1) subject to 10 years imprisonment.

So give us readers break – we don’t need to get all stressed out over bogus free speech issues. And this is about as bogus as it gets. There’s much better topics to focus on.

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