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Britain: Pussy Riot sentencing is a ‘disproportionate response’

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Britain added its voice to the international chorus of criticism of Russia on Friday after a court jailed three members of punk band Pussy Riot for criticising President Vladimir Putin.

Alistair Burt, a junior foreign minister, said he was deeply concerned by Russia’s “disproportionate response” to what he said had been “an expression of political belief”.

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Burt said reports about the conditions in which the women will serve their sentence, and the conduct of the trial, were “concerning”.

Britain’s relations with Russia are only just starting to improve after a frosty period following the killing in London of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with highly radioactive polonium in 2006.

The minister said the government “is committed to a relationship with Russia in which we can discuss differences frankly and constructively”.

He added: “We have repeatedly called on the Russian authorities to protect human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, and apply the rule of law in a non-discriminatory and proportionate way.

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“Today’s verdict calls into question Russia’s commitment to protect these fundamental rights and freedoms.”

A court sentenced the three women to two-year jail sentences for the anti-Putin stunt performed in a prominent Moscow church.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Perv who snapped pics of woman in dressing room turns out to be high-ranking Mormon church official

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A man who was caught secretly taking photos of a woman in a Nashville, Tennessee shopping mall has been identified has a high-level member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Fox 17 reports.

Stephen Murdock was arrested on Tuesday after police say he took the photos at an H&M store in a mall at Opry Mills. According to the report, Murdock's wife begged the victim not to call the police after the incident.

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Trump’s frantic conspiracy mongering is a distraction from looming recession: columnist

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Economists have grown concerned that President Donald Trump's trade wars with China will trigger a recession.

Writing in the Washington Post, columnist Greg Sargent points out that Trump is scared about the economy -- so he's resorting to lies and spreading conspiracy theories as a distraction.

"As President Trump prepares to run for reelection on the claim that his populist nationalist agenda has been a smashing success, it’s awfully telling that Trump and his advisers have now launched a frantic, multi-front effort to deny glaring truths about that agenda that are all right there in plain sight, for all of us to see," Sargent writes.

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NYPD finally fires cop who killed Eric Garner

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The New York Police Department announced on Monday that it was firing Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer who killed Eric Garner by placing him in a choke hold in 2014.

James O'Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department, made the announcement of Pantaleo's firing during a Monday afternoon press conference in which he recounted the actions taken by the former NYPD officer five years ago.

Although O'Neill did not believe that Pantaleo intended to grievously harm Garner while he was resisting arrest, he said that there was no reason for the officer to continue keeping Garner in a choke hold while he was on the ground and complaining that he was having difficulty breathing.

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