three members of russian punk collective potentially face years in prison for anti-putin performance in a moscow cathedral

by Tim Phillips

After five months of incarceration since their arrests in March, Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samutsevich of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot will learn their fate next week when Judge Marina Syrova issues her verdict on August 17. The women were charged with hooliganism, which is essentially defined as “disrespect for society,” for lip-syncing to an anti-Putin song in a church for 40 seconds. In addition to being blatant political repression, the charges highlight too-often unseen female defendants in criminal legal systems around the world:

Prison and police accountability activists have generally organized around and conceptualized men of color as the primary victims of state violence. Women prisoners and victims of police brutality have been made invisible by a focus on the war on our brothers and sons. It has failed to consider how women are affected as severely by state violence as men.

This passage is excerpted from a 2001 statement by Critical Resistance and INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence on gender violence and the prison industrial complex.