Stop The Presses! (NEW)

Paul McCartney Writes Letter in Support of Pussy Riot

Stop The Presses!

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Photo: Michael Loccisano

The world is watching as Maria Alyokhina, one of the members of punk band Pussy Riot, launched a hunger strike in a Russian jail Wednesday after she was stripped of the right to attend her own parole hearing.

One of those to take note was Sir Paul McCartney, who has penned a handwritten note to Russian officials in support of Alyokhina and her bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who was denied parole last week. McCartney is asking Russian officials to release both women on parole.

In the letter, which has also been posted on his official website, McCartney wrote, "My personal belief is that further incarceration for Maria will be harmful for her and the situation as a whole, which, of course, is being watched by people all over the world.

He continued, "In the great tradition of fair-mindedness which the Russian people (many of whom are my friends) are famous for, I believe that you granting this request would send a very positive message to all the people who have followed this case."

The two women were jailed last August for an alleged breach of public order motivated by religious hatred.

McCartney, of course, has a connection to Russia that dates back to 1968 when The Beatles released the Chuck Berry-Beach Boys homage "Back in the U.S.S.R." on The Beatles, commonly known as The White Album.

Two decades later he released an album, Choba B CCCP — translated into English is Back in the USSR — exclusively in the Soviet Union. In 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the album was released internationally with an extra track.

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