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Presidential human rights council: Pussy Riot sentence raises some questions

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Aug. 24, 2012, 12:48 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine

The Russian presidential human rights council said the punishment given to the members of the punk group Pussy Riot is too harsh.
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Moscow - The Russian presidential human rights council said the punishment given to the members of the punk group Pussy Riot is too harsh. 

"This criminal case also raises other questions about the observance of the principles of fair justice in a democratic law-governed state," members of the presidential human rights council said in a statement released in Moscow on Friday.

"For example, why did the defendants have to listen to the sentence being read in handcuffs for several hours? Why were all of the defendants given the same prison term, although two of them have young children? Why did the defendants not get a suspended prison sentence or at least a deferral until their children become reach full age?" the document says.

"Why is the punishment much tougher than punishment for blasphemy according to the laws of the Russian Empire? And why do we have to wait for the European Court of Human Rights to answer all these questions? Especially bearing in mind that we know the answers very well," the statement says.

"We are convinced that civil society has a right to insist on the supremacy of the truth and mercy in the Russian criminal justice system," the statement says. 

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