Human Rights Watch: The Pussy Riot Verdict

One of the best reports that I’ve seen on the Pussy Riot verdict–a felony conviction with a two-year prison sentence–comes from Human Rights Watch. Some pretty surprising things here:

“Shockingly, the judge found ‘nothing political’ about Pussy Riot’s action. Politics was, after all, the core of the women’s message.

Instead, the judge argued that feminism, ultimately, was at the core of the ‘religious hatred’ charge.

‘Feminism is not a violation of the law and is not a crime,’ Judge Syrova said. ‘But the ideas of feminism are not in line with a number of religions, including Russian Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Islam. Although feminism is not a religious precept, its proponents cross the line into the sphere of decency and morals.'”

“The judge unnerved me again when she stated that psychiatric exams found all three women were of sound mind, but that they each had ‘mild personality disorders’ that predisposed them to ‘an exaggerated sense of self,’ ‘stubborn adherence to opinions,’ and other traits of defiance.

At least this argument sounded familiar – a leaf from the old Soviet handbook: dissent defined as a mild mental disorder. It’s also a tried and true tactic for discrediting outspoken women.”

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