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Paul McCartney On Pussy Riot: ‘Further Incarceration Will Be Harmful’

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Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty

Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty

Paul McCartney recently sent handwritten letters addressed to Russian authorities to voice his support for the two Pussy Riot band members that remain incarcerated in Russian prisons.

This is the second time McCartney has expressed support for the three band members who were originally arrested in March of 2012. Three members of the Russian feminist punk-rock collective, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina, were arrested and charged with hooliganism after protesting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s main cathedral, Cathedral of Christ the Savior, in February 2012.

The band members were convicted of the charges in August of 2012 and were sentenced to two years in prison. However, after less than two months, Samutsevich was released on an appeal. The spark for recent interest from McCartney came after Alyokhina was denied access to her own parole hearing. As of May 22, Alyokhina has declared she will be on a hunger strike in protest of being denied the right to attend her hearing. Tolokonnikova, also still in prison, was denied parole on April 26.

The former Beatle stressed the Russian administration should consider parole for Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova.

In the letter regarding the case of Alyokhina, McCartney wrote and shared on his website, “My personal belief is that further incarceration for Maria will be harmful for her and the situation as a whole, which, of course, is being watched by people all over the world.”

McCartney continues in the letter, “In the great tradition of fair-mindedness which the Russian people (many of whom are my friends) are famous for, I believe that you granting this request would send a very positive message to all the people who have followed this case.”

In a separate hand-written letter, McCartney stressed concern for Tolokonnikova as well. He writes, “I have had a long relationship with the Russian people, and, with this in mind, I am making the following request in a spirit of friendship for my many Russian acquaintances who, like me, believe in treating people – all people, with compassion and kindness.”

McCartney is not the only musician that has voiced support for Pussy Riot band members. Madonna, Sting, and Yoko Ono, have publicly supported the group.

- Devon Marti / WNCX

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