MOSCOW, August 1 (Itar-Tass) — On Tuesday, the Khamovnichesky District Court held a court session over the Pussy Riot criminal case. Judge Marina Syrova heard the testimony of some more injured parties, the lawyers asked for the recusation of the court and the defendants complained about the shortage of sleeping time and food. The judge turned down most questions from the lawyers of the young women. The prosecutor used the words “God” and “spirituality”. Representatives of United Russia already began to make statements in support of the arrested women.
The trial began with the interrogation of altar warden Vasily Tsyganyuk, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reported. Tsyganyuk noted that at the moment of the incident he was cleaning up the ambo in the church, then he went out and saw “the young women jumping” and heard “blasphemous words about the God.” In his testimony the altar warden also mentioned indecent movements, which the young women were making, and the clothes “of bright colours hostile to the Orthodox Christianity.” In response to a question of lawyer Feigin, whether there are some rules in the church that regulate what to do in case an unauthorized stepping on the altar, Tsyganyuk answered, “My right – only the moral!” Judge Syrova continued to turn down the questions of the lawyers one after another under the pretext that they do not concern the criminal case. According to the lawyers, up to 70% of questions were turned down. For instance, she turned down a question once again whether the injured party is aware that the banquets are given at the church. The judge turned down the question whether the young women were “possessed with demons”, because “the injured party did not have the medical education.”
Head of the executive committee of the Vasilevsky Ostrov district of the United Russia party office (St. Petersburg) Valery Fedorov has made public in his blog a letter in support of the Pussy Riot punk band, the Vedomosti daily reported. In the letter the United Russia member asked the court to release Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich as soon as possible and urged his party partisans to join this appeal. “Let’s show to the society that not all United Russia members are medieval fanatics. This situation is actually not so,” Fedorov said at the end of its blog post.
“The situation for the young women is developing dramatically. Those who initiated this criminal case, are seeking to save their posts, and will take all the efforts to put them for long terms in prison. In this situation I find it wrong that the largest public and political organization, a member of which I am, is staying aside, cowardly hushing up this situation in the shadow,” Fedorov told the Vedomosti daily. According to him, members of the punk band “committed an offence, which should be condemned,” but he considers public correctional works are the optimal punishment. “They have already been kept at the detention centre longer than they deserved as punishment for this offence. If we do not come out in defence of them, they will be really imprisoned,” the United Russia member said with concerns.
Fedorov noted that he received many responses to his address from his party partisans, including those from other regions, and many responses were positive.
For his part, head of the United Russia executive committee in St. Petersburg Dmitry Yuryev told the Vedomosti daily that he does not know why Fedorov acted so and called his conduct “not quite adequate.” These actions were taken as his own PR campaign, Yuryev assumed. “Millions of members in the party have their opinions over the Pussy Riot criminal case, and no one instructed Fedorov to speak on behalf of United Russia. This is his personal statement made in an inadequate and untimely way,” Yuryev said.
It is hard to find reasonable explanations to the fact that an absurd trial over the Pussy Riot criminal case continues, the Vedomosti daily reported in its editorial article. The broadcasting from the court room shows an emphatically low level of qualification of the judges and the prosecutors. The newspaper has already reported that an offence, which is beyond the secular law, is being tried. But the manner of the trial makes us think that the Russian court decided to respond to the punk prayer with a punk trial.
The experts noted already for a long time the low quality of the investigation, which used to repeat the conclusions of the preliminary investigation, the newspaper noted. The traditionally accusing inclination of the Russian judicial authorities jointly with the habit to protect primarily the rights of the state, resulted in a serious lack of qualification of the prosecutors and judges amid a high level of corruption, as the latter do not have to prove something compulsorily. But the trial over the Pussy Riot criminal case is even extraordinary in this situation.
Why do the authorities need a live broadcast, which gives a video footage of an unreasonable court and the common sense of the defendants? the newspaper contemplated. Actually few people in terms of the country’s population are following closely the trial. The authorities hope that most people do not understand the essence of the criminal case and hear only “the signal”: chastise the president in the church is blasphemy. The trial has split the society not in the supporters of true and untrue evidence, but in liberals and conservatives.