An incarcerated member of punk band Pussy Riot lost her bid for parole in Russia on Friday (26Apr13). An attorney representing Nadezhda Tolokonnikova filed an appeal at Moscow City Court demanding an early release so the musician could look after her five-year-old daughter, but on Friday (26Apr13) authorities rejected the request.
According to USA Today, the ruling was made after penal colony officials stated in a court deposition that Tolokonnikova has been "decisive, insensitive to ethics and conscience and thinking only about herself".
The 23-year-old mother argued the penal colony didn't support her appeal because she "didn't repent".
Tolokonnikova and her bandmate Maria Alekhina have been trying to win their freedom after they were jailed for two years in 2012 for performing a protest song against President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow church.
A third member of the punk collective, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was freed on appeal in October (12) when her sentence was suspended.
Jailed punk stars Pussy Riot should be freed from prison immediately as their convictions came amid "substantial violations" of Russia's justice laws, according to their attorney. Three members of the punk collective were jailed for two years in 2012 for performing a protest song against President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow church, with the sentences sparking outrage among stars including Sir Paul McCartney and Madonna.
One of the trio - Yekaterina Samutsevich - was freed on appeal in October (12) when her sentence was commuted, and now her bandmates Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina are also hoping to win their freedom.
Irina Khrunova, a lawyer for the jailed women, has filed an appeal at Moscow City Court demanding officials overturn the punk stars' convictions for hooliganism on the grounds there is no evidence a crime was committed.
She adds, "The rulings in the Pussy Riot case were made with substantial violations of the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code and should be abolished."
In addition to appealing against their convictions, both women have also applied to be released on maximum parole.
Tolokonnikova is expecting to hear a ruling in her case later this month (Apr13) but Alekhina will have to wait until May (13) for her parole hearing as officials are still waiting to receive all the necessary documents.
If you only tuned in to 60 Minutes last night to hear distinguished newscaster Lesley Stahl say the words "Pussy Riot" over and over (and "Putin," for that matter) then you weren't listening close enough to the episode. Stahl spoke with the members of the Russian punk outfit who aren't incarcerated for a protest they staged to speak out against Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow cathedral in 2012.
While Yekaterina Samutsevich was able to speak to Stahl in the light of day, Pussy Riot's drummer, who identified herself only as "Kot," was in an undisclosed location, had to wear a mask, and had CBS alter her voice as she is in hiding. That's because "Kot" and Samutsevich's convicted bandmates Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are currently serving two year sentences in harsh conditions for their "crimes." (Samutsevich was freed on appeal last year).
Many have been vocal and outspoken about the harsh sentence for a freedom of speech issue, including fellow artists like Madonna, but 60 Minutes let those closest to the headline-grabbing story do the talking. Here are five key quotes from the segment, other than Stahl quoting that the riots and protests on his doorstep made him "pee his pants."
- "This is the language we've chosen, the language of punk." — Yekaterina Samutsevich
- "It's strange when you're innocent, are you supposed to ask for forgiveness from the judge who's ready to put you away for several years? No, this wasn't even discussed." — Yekaterina Samutsevich
- "I'm here to say you shouldn't give up. What happened to us is unacceptable." — "Kot"
- "It's an ongoing fight … just because there was a court case doesn't mean we're going to shut our mouths, we have things to say. We're gonna work, continue to do what we do." — Yekaterina Samutsevich
You can watch the entire segment that definitely upset your grandparents on Sunday night here:
[Photo credit: CBS]
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The Green Card star is hoping to make Russia his home in an effort to avoid the French government's plans to hike the taxes of their richest residents - and it appears he's a big fan of Putin.
Singing the praises of the leader in an interview on Russian TV on Sunday (13Jan13), the actor took aim at those opposed to the President, including the members of punk band Pussy Riot, who were jailed for protesting against Putin in a Moscow church last year (12).
Depardieu said, "If these girls had entered a mosque, they wouldn't have come out alive. Even in a Catholic world that would have been scary. But when I say things like that in France, they think I am an idiot.
"The Russian opposition has no programme, nothing... There are some very smart people, like (chess champion Garry) Kasparov, but that is only good for chess. That's it. Politics is a lot more complicated."
Two members of Pussy Riot are still serving time behind bars following their imprisonment last summer (12). Many celebrities, like Madonna and Sir Paul McCartney, have spoken out about the decision to jail the punk rockers.
Depardieu was issued a passport from Putin on 3 January (13) after going public with his plans to leave his native France.
Calling Russia "a great democracy", the star appeared on TV last week (ends11Jan13) in traditional Russian dress waving his new passport.
The actor has been a regular in the headlines of his home country since he announced he was moving to neighbouring Belgium amid a dispute over government plans to raise taxes on the wealthy.
He recently became a Russian citizen after accepting a new passport from President Vladimir Putin, but was expected to return home to his native France this week (beg07Jan13) to appear before magistrates and hear his sentence over a scooter crash in Paris in November (12).
Depardieu pleaded guilty to a drink-driving charge stemming from the incident after he was found to be three times over the country's legal alcohol limit, and he faces a possible two-year prison sentence and a fine.
However, Depardieu failed to appear for the scheduled Monday morning hearing.
Reports suggest Depardieu, who was denied a request to have the hearing postponed, could be slapped with the maximum possible sentence for failing to attend the court date.
The actor's lawyer Eric de Caumont told reporters outside the court his client was "abroad for professional reasons," adding, "He had professional obligations as he had to meet producers for a film shoot that will start mid-January."
The Green Card star was in Russia over the weekend (05-06Jan13) to pick up his new passport, and he was in Switzerland on Monday night (07Jan13) to attend the annual Ballon D'Or soccer award ceremony.
Depardieu is now expected to face a hearing at a criminal court in Paris later this year (13).
The Green Card star became headline news in his native France last month (Dec12) when he moved across the border to the Belgian village of Nechin in an apparent attempt to avoid a steep tax hike aimed at the country's wealthiest residents.
He applied for Russian citizenship, and his request was granted on Thursday (03Jan13), allowing Depardieu to sacrifice his French passport and escape to Eastern Europe to start a new life.
Depardieu was invited to toast his new citizenship with Putin at his holiday resort in Sochi and the pair was photographed shaking hands and hugging as the actor was welcomed to Russia.
On Sunday (06Jan13), the star flew to the city of Saransk in the region of Mordovia, where he was greeted by the local governor and a group of folk-singing women dressed in traditional costume in a bid to convince the star to settle in the area.
Flashing his new passport, Depardieu told reporters, "I am very happy, it's very beautiful here. Beautiful and soulful people live here."
The Green Card star became headline news in France last month (Dec12) when he moved across the border to the Belgian village of Nechin in an apparent attempt to avoid a steep tax hike aimed at the country's most wealthy residents.
On Thursday (03Jan13), Russian President Vladimir Putin cleared the star for a Russian passport and Depardieu has now written an open letter to officials in the country to thank them for making him a citizen.
In the message, he writes, "I filed a passport application and I am pleased that it was accepted. I love your country, Russia - its people, its history, its writers. I love your culture, your intelligence...
"I told (French President Francois Hollande) that Russia was a great democracy and that it wasn't a country where a prime minister would call a citizen pathetic."
Depardieu was branded "pathetic" by France's Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and the comment prompted the actor to announce plans to give up his French citizenship.
Under French law, residents are not allowed to give up their citizenship until they have been offered nationality by another country.
In the letter, which was read out on Russian TV, the actor also lavished praise on the country and revealed he is taking up language lessons.
He adds, "In Russia, there is the good life. I prefer the countryside, and I know some marvelous places in Russia... I feel good. And I'm learning Russian... Glory to Russia!"
Gerard Depardieu couldn't have a more French name if he tried, but the Green Card actor and internationally renowned airplane ruiner is now a Russian citizen. According to the Associated Press, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved Depardieu's application for citizenship.
Depardieu, 64, has been upset about his native France's proposed super tax on millionaires. The Oscar-nominated actor, most recently seen stateside in Life of Pi, wrote an open letter in response to French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault calling him "pathetic" for his criticism. "I have never killed anyone, I don't think I've been unworthy, I've paid (EURO)145 million ($190 million) in taxes over 45 years. I will neither complain nor brag, but I refuse to be called `pathetic,'" he wrote.
Back in December, Putin said of Depardieu's urge to leave France, "As we say, artists are easily offended and therefore I understand the feelings of Mr. Depardieu." In short, this all has the makings of a truly awesome, completely unintelligible movie.
Speaking of movies, since Depardieu is likely packing up his bike and baguettes to leave France, will he now become a bona fide Russian star? (Watch your back, Anton Yelchin!)
If Depardieu works on his Russian accent, he too could fill the stereotypical roles of:
- Evil Super Villain: Other than Middle Easterners, no other country producers more maniacal villains hellbent on taking down action heroes quite like the Russians. (See Die Hard, Bond movies, etc.)
- Rocky Villain: The only thing better than a new Rocky movie with Rocky fighting Ivan Drago, would be a new Rocky movie with Rocky fighting Gerard Depardieu.
- The Comic Relief Who Drinks Too Much: Get it? Because of the vodka.
- Fiddler on the Roof!
-Who Cares, So Long As It's Anything That Puts Him In A Ushanka Hat.
[Photo credit: WENN]
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The Green Card star moved to the Belgian village of Nechin, just minutes from the French border, after the government pushed ahead with plans to introduce a 75 per cent tax on millionaires to help boost France's ailing economy.
Depardieu was criticised by French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault over the move, but he has the support of another world leader as Russia's President Vladimir Putin has cleared the star for a Russian passport.
A statement from the Russian government reads, "Vladimir Putin has signed a decree granting Russian citizenship to France's Gerard Depardieu."
It is not known whether the actor has accepted the offer.
The actress hit the headlines when she split from her boyfriend Robert Pattinson after confessing to an "indiscretion" with her Snow White & the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders.
She rekindled her romance with Pattinson shortly before they began promoting their final vampire film, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, and now the brunette beauty has earned a spot on E!'s end-of-year round-up for handling the controversy with dignity.
Explaining Stewart's position at number seven on the list, editors at EOnline.com write, "What do you do when you screw up, and get caught? If you're the Twilight actress, you apologise, put your head down and do your work, even if doing your work means putting you in front of the same people - the press and the public - who spent their summer scrutinising and criticising your every move. It may not be the classic feel-good tale, but it's a blueprint nonetheless on how to take your lumps."
Other stars who made the list include R&B singer Frank Ocean, who 'came out' as gay in July (12), and female punk band Pussy Riot. Three members of the group were jailed in August (12) for performing a protest song against Russian President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow church.