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MOSCOW, August 17 (Itar-Tass) — Paul McCartney has expressed his support for the members of the girl’s punk band Pussy Riot on the eve of their sentencing in court that is expected on Friday. Sir McCartney sent Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich words of support. The musician wished the girls to be strong and said he would do everything possible to support them and the principle of freedom of artistic expression.
The Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper publishes the text of the letter. It reads: “Dear Nadya, Katya & Masha, I’m writing to show my support for you at this difficult time.
“I would like you to know that I very much hope the Russian authorities would support the principle of free speech for all their citizens and not feel that they have to punish you for your protest.
“Many people in the civilized world are allowed to voice their opinions and as long as they do not hurt anyone in doing so. I believe this is the best way forward for all societies.
“I hope you can stay strong and believe that I and many others like me who believe in freedom of speech will do everything in our power to support you and the idea of artistic freedom. Wishing you the very best of luck, Paul McCartney.”
The Novye Izvestiya daily reports that well-known Canadian singer Merrill Beth Nisker, better known as the electro-trash singer Peaches, has come out in support of the women. She made together with Simonne Jones a video clip in support of Pussy Riot and collected over 90 thousand signatures under a petition to Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika, demanding the girls’ immediate release from custody. Alicia Silverstone, American model and actress, has also interceded for the rights of the detained punk prayer performers.