Mikhail Gorbachev slams Pussy Riot case
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev says he condemns the persecution of members of Pussy Riot, a Russian punk band and feminist group.
Three members of Pussy Riot were arrested after holding a performance in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral. They prayed to the Virgin Marry to free Russia from Vladimir Putin in the form of a punk song full of curse words. The action, aimed to draw public attention to the lack of democracy and human rights violations in Russia, was considered by many as a insult to religion.
President Gorbachev told the BBC he believed the band had done nothing illegal and thus there was no cause for a lawsuit. "I am certain that there is no reason for legal action," Gorbachev said.
Many world-known artists, public figures and politicians have backed Pussy Riot. Among them are Paul McCartney, Madonna, Stephen Fry, Sting, Bjork and many others. The German Bundestag and the French National Assembly made special statements condemning the persecution of Pussy Riot.