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Pussy Riot Meets With US Senators On Capitol Hill

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Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina of famed punk rock group Pussy Riot were in Capitol Hill on Tuesday to meet with US Senators regarding human rights violators in Russia. Specifically, they want the US to add 16 officials to the current list of Russians already facing sanctions for human rights violations. “We’d like to remind our government that they have obligations that they have signed that they have to honor and we would like them not to continue having such an anti-Russian policy as they do have right now,” said Tolokonnikova.

The meeting, including Senators Ben Cardin, Richard Blumenthal, Chris Murphy, Jeff Flake and Representative Steve Cohen, focused on Pussy Riot’s personal experiences of abuse at the hands of the Russian government. “We had a chance to talk with them about the conditions today in Russia, the experiences that they had, including the fact that they were arrested and sent to prison, how they had tried to help the citizens of Russia deal with the current deterioration of human rights in Russia,” said Cardin.

Pussy Riot made global headlines when they were arrested in 2012 after protesting Russian president Vladimir Putin and spent two years in prison where they endured appalling conditions. According to the Russian government, “These citizens were taken in on suspicion of committing a crime, one involving a gross violation of public order, including inciting religious hatred as part of a planned conspiracy.” Pussy Riot made headlines again when they were filmed being whipped by Russian officers in Sochi at the Olympic Games.

If Pussy Riot is successful, the officials brought to the attention of the Senate could face several penalties, including frozen assets and being banned from U.S. travel. The United States has thus far put 18 individuals under these sanctions. “The only way we’re going to get advancements on human rights is to put a spotlight on those who are violating human rights to stand up and make it clear that we will not accept these behaviors,” said Cardin.

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Pussy Riot Meets With US Senators On Capitol Hill
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