Russia appeals ECHR ruling over P-Riot case

October 19, 2018. Three young women from the all-female band were tried in Russia in 2012 for hooliganism after staging an improvised performance in one of the country’s biggest cathedrals for a music video earlier in the same year.

The case attracted international attention, with many Western media outlets depicting P-Riot as artists persecuted for their anti-government message. By the time of the trial, the participants had a years-long record of protest performances in Russia, but never faced punishment more severe than a fine or an administrative detention.

The Russian court agreed that the stunt in the cathedral was meant to be insulting to Orthodox Christians and sentenced the three identified participants to two years in jail. One of them, Ekaterina Samutsevich, was released two months later, when her jail term was suspended. The two others, Nedezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, served most of their terms before being freed as part of a wider amnesty in 2014.

The women complained about their prosecution to the ECHR, which ruled in July that the Russian justice system had violated several articles of the ECHR, of which Russia is a signatory. The court ordered the Russian government to pay €42,400 in damages to the plaintiffs, and around €12,000 ($13,750) in court expenses.