McCartney, Madonna and 100 others bat for Pussy Riot`s release

Moscow: Singers like Paul McCartney, Madonna, Adele and Elton John are among the 100 international musicians who have joined a call for the release of two jailed members of the Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot.

Ahead of the appeal hearing of the jailed members -- Nadezhda `Nadya` Tolokonnikova and Maria `Masha` Alekhina -- this week, the artistes have signed an open letter by Amnesty International calling for their release.

Addressed as "Dear Masha and Nadia", the letter reads, "As the one-year anniversary of your trial approaches, we are writing to assure you that, around the world, people are both still thinking of you and working for your release.

"...We ask that the Russian authorities review these harsh sentences, so that you may return to your children, your families and your lives. The right to freedom of expression and dissent is a legitimate one and essential in any kind of democracy."

The letter is signed by the who`s who of the music world with names including Bryan Adams, Laurie Anderson, Coldplay, Lily Rose Cooper, Dido, Bob Geldof, Sean Lennon, Yoko Ono, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and Harry Styles.

In its petition Amnesty International said that there was serious concern for the safety of the two women prisoners. In a separate letter to Prosecutor General, the Amnesty cites serious concern for the safety of the two women prisoners.

"I call on you to ensure that Alekhina and Tolokonnikova are immediately and unconditionally released. While they remain incarcerated, the two women must not be ill-treated by prison staff or inmates, and they must be allowed regular contact with their families and legal teams," the Amnesty letter read.

The bandmembers were convicted after staging a ‘punk prayer’ inside Russia`s main Orthodox cathedral, Moscow`s Christ the Savior in February 2012 that included comments against President Vladimir Putin.

PTI

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