General News

Russian punk stars launch prisoners rights organisation

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Mar 14, 2014 | 4:31pm EDT

Pussy Riot stars Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina have launched a new initiative to protect the rights of prisoners in Russia. The punk rock activists spent 18 months behind bars in 2012 and 2013 after they were arrested for staging a protest gig in a Moscow church, and became a public relations nightmare for the authorities by constantly complaining about their conditions. At a press conference in Mordovia on Thursday (13Mar14), Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, who were released from prison as part of an amnesty in December (13), promoted their Law Zone organisation and website, which features a former Russian prison psychologist as its CEO. The initiative, known in Russia as Zona Prava, has established a hotline number for prisoners to report incidents of abuse. Alyokhina says, "Mordovia needs a rights office more than anyone. They (prison guards) can beat you or finally beat you to death, and no one will know about it." Her bandmate adds, "In our country, as long as cases of prisoners' rights' violation take place, we are sure that there will be a need for our organisation." Meanwhile, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the two punk stars are planning a trip back to America for a gala in their honour, staged by director Roland Emmerich.

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