Friday 30 November 2012, 13:35 | By

Moscow court rules that access to sites hosting Pussy Riot videos should be restricted

Legal

Pussy Riot

The Moscow Zamoskvoretsky District Court has ruled that videos made by provocative Russian punk group Pussy Riot are “extremist” and that access to sites hosting them, which would include their website at pussyriot.com and their blog on livejournal.com, should therefore be restricted. It’s the latest attack against the all-women group, who are very critical of the current Russian regime, by the country’s authorities and courts. The ruling may still be contested at a higher court, though it is not clear who will launch the appeal.

According to Russian news agency Interfax, the judge ruling on the case said: “The video materials in question contain evidence of extremism, specifically statements and actions belittling various social groups based on religious affiliation. There are hidden calls for a riot and resistance of the authorities, and also the organisation of mass unrest”.

Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich attempted to launch an appeal against the decision, but the court refused to recognise her as an interested party. Despite this, she vowed to continue to fight the decision, either through the courts or by moving the Pussy Riot website to servers outside Russia, saying yesterday: “Today’s decision was expected. I will try to contest it”.

The Russian Orthodox Church, meanwhile, welcomed the decision – perhaps unsurprisingly since it too has been criticised by the group, and it was the band’s performance of a ‘punk prayer’ in the church’s Moscow cathedral that landed three Pussy Riot members in prison earlier this year (two are still in jail). And it’s the video of that performance which is the band’s most popular, with almost 2.5 million views on YouTube.

Father Vsevolod of the Church told Interfax: “There are no grounds not to respect this court decision. Many such tests and videos have been put on the federal list of extremist materials, and the decision to put this video on this list is quite appropriate. Texts that were even less insulting and hostile towards other religious groups have been recognised as extremist materials before, [therefore this new ruling] is well in line with the current law enforcement practice”.

He added: “If this law is adopted, it should protect the interests of the minority and the majority, it should exercise justice and be effective in all cases when insulting and hostile words are said about a specific group of people, and concepts, symbols and persons that are important to them”.

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