Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Russia

Russian Priest Who Spoke Out On Pussy Riot Granted Czech Asylum

An activist hands out leaflets during an action in Moscow in support of Pussy Riot in 2012.
An activist hands out leaflets during an action in Moscow in support of Pussy Riot in 2012.
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A Russian Orthodox priest who stood up for jailed members of the all-female punk-rock  collective Pussy Riot says he has been granted political asylum in the Czech Republic.

Sergei Baranov, who served as a deacon in the city of Tambov, caused a stir in Russia last year when he published an open letter to the Moscow patriarchate voicing outrage at the church's unforgiving stance against Pussy Riot.

Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samutsevich were sentenced to two years in prison for staging an anti-Kremlin performance in Moscow's largest cathedral in February 2012.

Samutsevich was later released on probation.

Baranov, who has since been defrocked, told Czech media that his asylum came into force on April 23.

He said he planned to convert to the Greek Catholic Church.

Based on reporting by Novinky.cz, and Radio Praha

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