Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Was This the Price for Her Freedom?

The Guardian (UK): Pussy Riot row erupts over legal team following interview with freed member

Yekaterina Samutsevich claims original lawyers cared more about fame than clients, leading to trade of accusations
    Pussy Riot's Yekaterina Samutsevich
    Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich accuses Mark Feygin, Nikolai Polozov and Violetta Volkova of dereliction of duty. They in turn accuse her of collaborating with the Kremlin to win release. Photograph: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    A row has erupted around the jailed punk band Pussy Riot, with the group's members and supporters trading accusations of theft, lies and Kremlin collaboration with their lawyers.

    Bad blood has been simmering between the women and their legal team since the end of the Pussy Riot trial, which saw three of members found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for their performance of an anti-Putin "punk prayer" inside a Moscow cathedral. Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich were sentenced to two years in prison. Samutsevich was later released on appeal after ditching the group's legal team for a new lawyer.

    In a lengthy interview published on Monday, she accused the lawyers – Mark Feygin, Nikolai Polozov and Violetta Volkova – of failing to carry out their legal duties, caring more about their personal fame and careers inside the Russian opposition. She also accused Feygin, a former Duma deputy, of forging papers to register the Pussy Riot brand while the three women were still in pre-trial detention and of failing to return her passport to her.

    Samutsevich, 30, was released after an appeal hearing on 10 October. Alyokhina, 24, and Tolokonnikova, 23, have been sent to distant prison colonies to serve the remainder of their terms.

    "Our lawyers gave more speeches about the situation in Russia [during the trial]," Samutsevich told "It turned out we were like lawyers, and they were like artists, like co-authors of the trial. They were not lawyers."

    The trial in August was marked by procedural violations and absurdities, hearings were often interrupted by shouting sessions.

    "We're not masochists and we don't want to sit in jail," Samutsevich said, responding to earlier statements by Feygin that the women preferred to serve time in jail "and emerge like heroes".

    "It's strange that some people think that we went to jail to become stars," she said. "We fought until the end. Nadya and Masha don't want to be jailed."

    The legal trio announced late on Monday that they were no longer involved in the Pussy Riot case. They remain prominent in opposition circles, defending a host of clients that have been caught up in the Kremlin's crackdown on dissent.

    Yet they did not go quietly. In a storm of Twitter messages exchanged between the lawyers, journalists, and Pussy Riot supporters on Tuesday, Polozov accused the Kremlin of waging the campaign against them. "Back in summer I said that the authorities would carry out a campaign of discreditation against the Pussy Riot lawyers and here you go," he wrote. "Samutsevich's lies, reproduced in the media, are one element of the deal that allowed her to get out of the case."

    The lawyers insist Samutsevich collaborated with the Kremlin to win her release from prison. Samutsevich's new lawyer argued that she should be set free because she was detained before the women's February performance began. Analysts say her freedom provided a way for the politicised court to show leniency in a case that won attention around the world.

    "The lawyers are trying to show that I'm acting against them, but not everything is against them here, but around the criminal case itself," Samutsevich said. "What's important here is that we were found guilty – we should be discussing that."


    thissmallplanet writes: It seems that throwing the activist lawyers under the bus was part of the price that had to be paid for her early release. Let's hope the others are released soon too... and Putin can piss himself all over again...

    the MP3 and other stuff is here...


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