Pussy Riot Cathedral Video Banned in Russia

Moscow court says protest footage falls under 'extremism' law

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, Pussy Riot
NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/GettyImages
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich of Pussy Riot
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Video footage of Pussy Riot's protest performance in a Moscow cathedral last February has been banned in Russia and must be blocked by Internet providers, The Associated Press reports. Band member Yekaterina Samutsevich filed an appeal of a lower court's ruling last November, but today, Moscow City Court rejected it, putting a ban into immediate effect.

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Pussy Riot's video was banned under Russia's "extremism" law, which is intended to target neo-Nazi and terrorist groups, but has also been utilized against South Park and Scientologists. Internet providers will be hit with fines up to $3,000 for failing to block the videos. A conservative lawmaker, who requested the decision, called the ruling symbolic, citing the ability to access the videos through foreign servers not subject to the law.

Samutsevich, who was released on appeal last October, said the decision was still censorship and plans to continue fighting the ruling. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are still both incarcerated, and Alyokhina lost an appeal to defer her sentence earlier this month.

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