Entertainment News

  • 30 January 2014, 12:17

Madonna And Pussy Riot Pair To Share Stage

Madonna will introduce two formerly jailed members of the punk band Pussy Riot when they appear at an Amnesty International concert next week.

The pop queen will hail Maria Alyokhina, 25, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24, as "fellow freedom fighters" before they speak at the event in New York on February 5.

It is their first trip to the city since being granted amnesty in December by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

They were jailed for nearly two years after being convicted in 2012 of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred when they stormed Moscow's biggest cathedral and sang a protest song against Mr Putin.

A third Pussy Riot member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was freed on appeal.

"I am honoured to introduce my fellow freedom fighters Masha and Nadya from Pussy Riot," Madonna said in a statement after posting the news on Facebook.

"I have admired their courage and have long supported their commitment and the sacrifices they have made in the name of free of expression and human rights." 

The singer has been outspoken in her support for the band. During two shows in Moscow and St Petersburg last year she donned a balaclava similar to those they wear and called for them to be freed.

"I know there are many sides to every story, and I mean no disrespect to the church or the government, but I think that these three girls - Masha, Katya, Nadya - I think that they have done something courageous," Madonna said to loud cheers from the crowd at Moscow's Olympiysky Stadium last August.

"I pray for their freedom," she said.

American alternative rock group Imagine Dragons, the Flaming Lips and R&B singer Lauryn Hill will perform at the Bringing Human Rights Home concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The event will resume a global concert series that Nobel Peace Prize-winning Amnesty International began 25 years ago, featuring rock greats such as U2, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and Lou Reed.

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