"…the insult and humiliation of the Christian faith and inciting religious hatred."
Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova the 3 female members of Pussy Riot were each sentence to 2 years in a penal colony for "the insult and humiliation of the Christian faith and inciting religious hatred".
The sentencing Judge, Syrova, in her comments additionally criticised the defendants for being feminists, though noting "belonging to feminism in the Russian Federation is not a legal violation or crime." Well that's lucky but...The point being publicly made is they are in addition to their sentence to be admonished by the Laws and The State for holding feminist convictions. Syrova included in this admonishment (rather than sentence) that the women were not quite the full quid presumably because of their atheism, feminism and choice to protest. The prosecution had expert opinion prove the women had psychological disorders how else could they could have performed such an atrocious act (presumably?).
What they've really be gaoled for in truth is sedition, but throw in to perhaps gain public acceptance is the heinous crime of defaming religion and inciting hate. It is interesting that mockery or criticism of religion can be considered to defame and an incitement to hate. The Russian Orthodox Church has come out in addition prior to the sentencing to openly accuse any church critics of "militant atheism". To critique or simply mock the church is militant and illegal. To jump about in colourful balaclava's beseeching the Virgin Mary to get rid of Putin for Russia's sake is not ostentatious and lurid socio-political protest it is militant and illegal - seditious. It is healthy for both a country and its people to take a challenging hit in the moral and ethical guts - obviously for Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church it is a step too far.
Who got hurt? No citizenry were harmed, the odd music critic maybe, but no real harm came to any person or animal though an uncomfortable (for some) message was conveyed bluntly, honestly and openly. The sickening aspect for any outspoken critic is the clear message they'll get little support from a complicit legal system should they be charged with such crimes. Russian edifices of The Church, Government and Law are in a closed tripartite of control and they are saying look out. The Law supports the desires of its controller - Putin is watching and he has supporters.
Would Pussy Riot receive any better in Australia? A quick look at our sedition laws and the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act implemented here imply they might be in an equivalent pickle. See below.
What message does this send? Self-censor because anything you may say may cause upset or worse amongst others. So, say nothing or say only positive things. You are therefore censored. If you transgress you are breaking the law and will be charged accordingly and pursued in the criminal or possibly civil courts. Advance Australia Fair!
Conduct likely to be considered racial or religious vilification includes:
• comments about the race or religion of a person that could incite contempt or ridicule of, or hatred for, that person
• publishing baseless allegations that a racial or religious group engages in serious criminal activities
• persistent and serious verbal or physical abuse about the race or religion of another person
• encouraging violence against people who belong to a particular race or religion and the destruction of their property
• promoting hatred of a racial or religious group in flyers, stickers, posters, in a speech or publication, or through websites or email.
• It is also against the law to authorise or assist someone to vilify others.
Schedule 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Bill (No. 2) 2005, passed by the Upper House on 6 December 2005, repealed Sections 24A to 24E of the Crimes Act (1914) and reintroduced them, along with several new classes of offence, in a Division 80—Treason and sedition. Crimes in this division now attract a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment.
The definition of "seditious intention" originally in Section 24A has become (as amended):
An intention to effect any of the following purposes:
(a) to bring the Sovereign into hatred or contempt;
(b) to urge disaffection against the following:
(i) the Constitution;
(ii) the Government of the Commonwealth;
(iii) either House of the Parliament;
(c) to urge another person to attempt, otherwise than by lawful means, to procure a change to any matter established by law in the Commonwealth;
(d) to promote feelings of ill-will or hostility between different groups so as to threaten the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth.