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MOSCOW, July 13 (Itar-Tass) —Moscow City Prosecutor’s Office has submitted materials of a criminal case of the Pussy Riot group members to the Khamovniki district court. On the face of it, the lawyers defending the group have drafted a letter to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, in order to raise the issue of the group’s plight at the UN Human Rights Committee.
The charges against the group ‘songstresses’ look somewhat puzzling, as they clearly go beyond the limits of the terminology used by a secular state, writes the Nezavissimaya Gazeta daily. An official report on the transfer of materials from the Prosecutor’s Office to the court sounded quite unexpectedly for that legal institution. “In the daytime hours of February 21, 2012, members of the Pussy Riot group penetrated the premises of the Cathedral of the Savior, which is a metropolitan cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church, purportedly inflicted damage on the values of the Christian service and outraged on the sacramental character of the holy rites. They disregarded appeals from a woman working in the cathedral to stop the act of sacrilege, penetrated the sanctuary platform, which is meant for the effectuation of religious rites and functions, and humiliated the age-old fundamentals of the Russian Orthodox Church.”
The very use of the terms like “an outrage on the sacramental /or sacral, to put it differently/ character of the holy rites” and “sacrilege” is natural for the documents of clerical organizations but not for official reports of a body of state power, Nezavissimaya Gazeta says.
“That’s a horrifying medieval formulation,” says Nikolai Shaburov, the chief of the Center for the Studies of Religions at the Russian State University of Humanities. “
“We know that such things were prosecuted under law in the Middle Ages and some countries continued doing it up to the end of the 19th century, and we also know that they are punishable by death penalty in Pakistan even now. But we have a secular state here. Our Criminal Code does not contain definitions of this type. They clearly belong to a lexicon of some other sort.”
Pussy Riot lawyers on Thursday drafted a letter to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, in order to bring the issue up at the UN Human Rights Committee. One of the lawyers, Mark Feigin, told about it in his Twitter micro blog.
He told the Novye Izvestia daily that international human rights activists had already made proposals to assist the controversial songstresses’ release. “We’ve had meetings with some representatives of the UN who came here.