WHOOPI GOLDBERG AND MARTIN SHEEN BACK PETITION DEMANDING END TO PUSSY RIOT PROSECUTION
Whoopi Goldberg & Martin Sheen Support The Petition Against The Pussy Riot Prosecution ( Photo Credit – Instagram / WHOOPI GOLDBERG ; Wikipedia / MARTIN SHEEN )

Whoopi Goldberg, Martin Sheen, and Mia Farrow are backing calls to end the prosecution of two Pussy Riot rockers, who are facing prison time in Russia for their political activism.

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Maria ‘Masha’ Alekhina and Ludmila ‘Lucy’ Shtein have been threatened with up to two years behind bars for using their Instagram accounts to support the release of political prisoners in Russia.

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Their online posts were sent after taking part in mass protests in January (21), condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin for the treatment of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The rockers have been held under house arrest for the past two months and are banned from using the Internet, and they will find out if their punishment will be extended or if their criminal trial will begin during a court hearing this week (begs15Mar21).

Ahead of the legal proceedings, Pussy Riot member Nadya Tolokonnikova, who previously served prison time for her own political activism, has joined forces with European Film Academy chairman Mike Downey to gather the signatures of a host of Hollywood stars demanding Alekhina and Shtein be released by Russian officials, citing human rights violations.

Others to sign the petition include director Spike Jonze, M*A*S*H star Mike Farrell, and artist Maria Abramovic.

It reads in part: “We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, call on the Russian government to immediately cease criminal prosecution of Pussy Riot band members Maria Alekhina and Lucy (Ludmila) Shtein…

“These baseless charges are part of the Russian government’s campaign to silence activists and discourage people from further protests stirred by corruption and the unfair and politically motivated imprisonment of Aleksey Navalny (sic).”

It continues: “We condemn the persecution of peaceful demonstrators who according to numerous reports are currently being beaten, tortured, imprisoned and ill-treated for participating in rallies. Persecution based on political opinion is unacceptable in any civilized society.

“We respectfully urge your government to drop all charges against Maria Alekhina and Lucy Shtein in observance of international human rights laws and standards. The international community of artists and human rights advocates around the world will continue to monitor their situation and press your government until you withdraw their cases.”

Russian authorities have yet to respond to the demand. (MT/DL/LOT)

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