Jarvis Cocker, Pete Townsend, Johnny Marr Publish Open Letter in Support of Pussy Riot

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If you haven’t educated yourself about Pussy Riot, the anonymous, riot grrrl-inspired Russian punk band/activist collective, it’s time to read up. (We suggest the Guardian‘s coverage.) Three women alleged to be part of the group have been in jail for months and are currently on trial for hooliganism — a charge that could carry a prison term of up to seven years, all for a peaceful protest against the country’s president, Vladimir Putin. Yesterday, one of the defendants needed medical attention in court, as reports surfaced that all three were being deprived of food and sleep.

As Pussy Riot’s predicament has grown more dire, musicians from around the world have begun to raise their voices in support of the band, with acts like Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Sting speaking out while on tour in Russia and members of the Beastie Boys and Le Tigre advocating from the US. Now, a long list of other music stars have added their names to the legion of pro-Pussy Riot activists. In a letter published today in the Times of London, Pete Townsend, Jarvis Cocker, Johnny Marr, Kate Nash Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand, Corinne Bailey Rae, Martha Wainwright, Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys, and more called the charges against the women “preposterous.” In advance of Putin’s visit to the UK this week, the musicians appealed to him for a fair trial, expressed concerns about Pussy Riot’s living conditions, and wrote, “We believe firmly that it is the role of the artist to make legitimate political protest and fight for freedom of speech.” While us regular folks may not have the pull to reach such a large audience, we can lend our support to Pussy Riot by signing Amnesty International’s petition to free the alleged band members and donating to the cause. [via CNN, BBC; image via FreePussyRiot.org]