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FOREIGN AFFAIRS—RUSSIA—FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

Senator Xenophon, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 860—That the Senate—

 (a) notes that:

  (i) on Friday, 17 August 2012, Ms Yekaterina Samutsevich, Ms Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ms Maria Alyokhina, members of the Russian band Pussy Riot, were each sentenced to 2 years in jail after being found guilty by a Russian court of `hooliganism motivated by religious hatred' following a performance which was critical of President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral,

  (ii) the Russian Orthodox Church described what the women did as `sacrilege' but also requested clemency be shown to the convicted women, and

  (iii) Amnesty International has stated that, while the women's protest may have been offensive, their sentence was a `bitter blow to freedom of expression'; and


 (b) expresses its concern at the severity of the sentence and the seeming intolerance of freedom of expression in Russia.

Question put and passed.