British actor Stephen Fry has written an open letter to the imprisoned members of punk band Pussy Riot, offering his sympathy for their plight and calling for their release.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were found guilty of hooliganism on Friday (17Aug12) after performing a protest song against Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow church earlier this year (12).
They were sentenced to two years in prison, and stars including Madonna and Sting have called for the rockers to be freed.
Actor and comedian Fry has now written a letter to the band, posted on Amnesty International's website, in which he sympathises with the musicians.
Fry writes, "I can't imagine how you are feeling at the moment as you begin the astoundingly unfair and disproportionate prison sentence that has been handed out to you. It might cheer you to know that so many people around the world are thinking of you and doing what they can, through Amnesty International and other bodies, to see if your sentence can't be reduced, commuted or suspended...
"Some cynics (and believe me, my country is stuffed with them) will ask why I am not writing to those imprisoned in Iran or China. Well, I have the faint, perhaps forlorn, hope, that Russia and its leader might be faintly more persuadable...
"Putin hasn't made a monster of himself. He has made a fool of himself. It is often said that had the world laughed at Hitler early enough he would never have taken the hold on power he did. I do not call Putin a Hitler. Yet. But it is time to laugh him out of this stance and you out of incarceration."