Published Friday, 17 August 2012
A protest was held at Belfast's City Hall in support of the punk band. (© Socialist Youth NI)
Three band members were arrested in March after an unauthorised performance in Moscow's main cathedral calling for the Virgin Mary to protect Russia against leader Vladimir Putin.
Human rights activists have expressed their outrage that, on Friday, the three women were found guilty of hooliganism and sentenced to two years in jail.
Socialist Youth members held a protest in support of the band at Belfast City Hall to call for their immediate release and an end to attacks on free speech and political persecution of opponents to the Putin regime.
Protestors donned brightly coloured balaclavas to show solidarity to the Feminist Punk band who wear the balaclavas when performing.
Socialist Youth member Ann Orr said the protest defended freedom of speech and claimed the women had not been given a fair trial.
Crowds of banner-waving supporters protested outside Russia's embassy in London's Kensington Palace Gardens and masked demonstrators also protested in O'Connell Street in Dublin.
Freedom of expression is a right, not a wrong.
Amnesty International's Patrick Corrigan said the sentences were a "bitter blow for freedom of expression in the country".
The organisation has announced a solidarity night concert in Belfast to be held in three weeks time to support the campaign for imprisoned women.
Amnesty International said it believed that the trial of the Pussy Riot defendants - Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova - was politically motivated, and that they were wrongfully prosecuted for what was a legitimate - if potentially offensive - protest action.
The organisation considers all three activists to be prisoners of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs.
"This is an outrageous verdict and sentence. The Russian authorities should overturn this decision and release the members of Pussy Riot immediately and unconditionally," said Mr Corrigan.
"We want to give people in Northern Ireland a chance to join a wave of international protest and send a message to Moscow that freedom of expression is a right, not a wrong.
"That's why we are announcing today a solidarity concert in the Black Box in Belfast on Friday 7 November. Meanwhile people can take action online at Amnesty's website to send a message of protest to the authorities in Russia."
He added: "What these three activists did was calculated to shock - and did shock many. But by sentencing them to two years' imprisonment, Russia has set the limits of freedom of expression in the wrong place."