Pussy Riot sues Russian government

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina are taking the Kremlin to court over their 2012 imprisonment

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Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina are suing the Russian government for £70,000 each

Two members of the feminist political protest group Pussy Riot are suing the Russian government through the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over their incarceration in 2012. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina were both imprisoned for 21 months after performing their anti-Putin protest song on the altar of a cathedral near to the Kremlin.

The pair want £70,000 each to compensate for the emotional and physical damage caused by the investigation, trial and imprisonment. Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, who were released in December 2013, both went on hunger strike during their detention and claim that they were subject to torture over the 21 month period in prison.

They claim that Russia violated four parts of Europe's human rights law, including the rights of freedom of expression, liberty, security, the right to a fair trial and the prohibition of torture. The duo say that they were kept in a glass cage next to police and forced to put up with extremely harsh trial schedules, factors that they claim amount to the inhumane treatment of prisoners.

Pavel Chikov is the head of the legal rights group Agora, which is representing the two women in their fight against the Kremlin. Speaking to the Guardian, he said: "They didn't get fair trial here in Russia so they want to get it finally in the ECHR. Plus they want this case to set a precedent that Russians can speak publicly on sensitive political issues, even if this speech is not supported by majority. This is a case about freedom of expression and fair trial first of all."

Watch Pussy Riot performing and being arrested on the steps of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior below:

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