Pussy Riot Members Suing Russian Government For Human Rights Violations

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova say their trials violated their human rights.

More than two years after they were arrested for staging a protest against President Vladimir Putin at a Cathedral in Moscow — and later found guilty for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” — two members of Pussy Riot are suing the Russian government for human rights violations.

According to The Guardian, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova have filed a suit in the European Courts of Human Rights claiming that the trial violated their rights — namely, those to prohibiting torture, freedom of expression, liberty and security and a fair trial.

Both are seeking €120,000 in compensation (more than $161,000) and €10,000 in court fees (more than $13,000), according to The Guardian.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, along with their bandmate Yekaterina Samutsevich, were arrested in early 2012 after they performed a “punk prayer” critical of Putin at an Orthodox Church. After five months of being detained — during which time artists from Madonna to Green Day to Sir Paul McCartney called for their release — they were sentenced in August of 2012 to two years in jail after a judge ruled their protest “crudely undermined social order.”

It was a ruling that sparked outrage among activists and artists everywhere, with Amnesty International calling it “a bitter blow to freedom in Russia.” Even Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called for their release in September 2012.

While Samutsevich was released in October of 2012 after being issued a suspended sentence, it wasn’t until December of 2013 — ahead of the Sochi Olympics — that Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were freed when Putin announced an amnesty law.

The two are trying to will attempt to overturn their criminal convictions, and will reportedly give away any compensation to human rights organizations.