Pussy Riot Are Coming To Brooklyn, USA

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova will appear at an Amnesty International concert in Brooklyn next month.

Two recently freed members of the Russian punk collective Pussy Riot, whose 2012 jailing for an anti-Putin protest in Moscow’s main cathedral sparked an international outcry, will visit New York this month to appear at an Amnesty International benefit.

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova will appear at a benefit concert for the human rights organization at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn Feb. 5, they said in a statement provided to BuzzFeed.

“We, more than anyone, understand how important Amnesty’s work is in connecting activists to prisoners,” Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, who served 21 months for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” before President Vladimir Putin amnestied them in December.

“A month ago we were freed from Russian prison camps. We will never forget what it’s like to be in prison after a political conviction. We have vowed to continue helping those who remain behind bars,” they added.

Since their release, Alyokhina, 25, and Tolokonnikova, 24, have announced plans to set up a human rights organization to improve prison conditions in Russia. Both women attempted to stay in prison until their sentence expired in February to research conditions there. They have criticized the amnesty as a political stunt to boost Putin’s image before the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Tolokonnikova shocked the country and sparked calls for far-ranging reform in September when she wrote an open letter detailing “slavery-like” conditions in her prison colony in the central province of Mordovia. Officials subsequently sent her to Siberia in an elaborate land route and kept her incognito for nearly a month. Alyokhina also complained of poor conditions and pressure from wardens and inmates against her at her prison in Perm province in the Ural Mountains before being transferred.

The Flaming Lips, Lauryn Hill, and Imagine Dragons are among the musicians set to perform at the concert, which aims to raise awareness for political prisoners worldwide.

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