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    Russian Constitutional Court Declines Complaint From Member of Pussy Riot Punk Band

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    The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation has declined to consider a complaint from one of the Pussy Riot punk band members, for a lack of legal ground, a court representative told RIA Novosti Wednesday.

    MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) – The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation has declined to consider a complaint from one of the Pussy Riot punk band members, for a lack of legal ground, a court representative told RIA Novosti Wednesday.

    "[Nadezhda] Tolokonnikova claims in the complaint that the article [on hooliganism] under which she was convicted, is not in line with the Constitution of the Russian Federation because it disproportionately restricts the freedom of expression and allows to recognize the violation of religious norms as public offense and set the criminal nature of the acts on the basis of the perception of the majority of the population," the court representative said.

    "The Constitution of the Russian Federation does not set any ideological or philosophical, including religious, criteria for the freedom of speech or information," the court stressed, noting that nevertheless the religious views of people should be respected by those who do not share their ideology.

    If a citizen exercising their rights and freedoms, including the freedom of thought and expression, thus violates the rights and freedoms of others, they could be held legally accountable and could be subject to criminal law, the representative added.

    In February 2012, five members of the Pussy Riot band staged a so-called "punk prayer" in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior. A video of the performance went viral on the Internet, causing a massive public outcry.

    Three of the group members – Maria Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samutsevich – were arrested and sentenced to two years in prison for hooliganism. In October 2012, the punishment for Samutsevich was changed to conditional. In December 2013, Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were granted amnesty by Russian President Vladimir Putin in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Russian Constitution.

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