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Tell Secretary Clinton to Urge Russia to End the Systematic Persecution of Civil Society

Russia is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot received guilty verdicts today for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred." The young women were each sentenced to two years in jail. Their crime: staging a nonviolent anti-Putin protest at Moscow's main cathedral. In addition, not shaken by a recent gay rights protest at the London Olympics, the Kremlin maintains its ban on LGBT organizations from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The Russian government is using antiextremism and incitement laws, which were enacted to combat hate crimes, to systematically silence dissenting voices including independent media, activists, religious believers, and LGBT and other minority groups. Russians who do not agree with President Putin and are unafraid to speak their mind are in trouble.

Secretary Hillary Clinton will travel to Russia in September for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference. Tell the Secretary to stand with those fighting hatred and intolerance, not those perpetrating it.

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