Pussy Riot speak out for Chechen gays

Members of Russian Punk Band Pussy Riot say Chechen gays and lesbians are being persecuted.
Members of Russian Punk Band Pussy Riot say Chechen gays and lesbians are being persecuted.

Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot has called on the federal government to offer political asylum to any members of the Chechen gay and lesbian community in Australia who fear persecution if they return to their homeland.

The band donned their famous balaclavas as they took to the steps of parliament house in Adelaide on Wednesday as part of a protest organised by Amnesty International.

Band spokeswoman Maria Alyokhina said Australian officials should take every opportunity to raise the treatment of LGBTQ Chechens with their Russian counterparts.

Alyokhina said Australia should not be silent on the issue of the ongoing persecution of individuals by Chechen authorities.

"It's a question of their life," she said.

"They are in real danger."

Amnesty International spokesman Joel Clark said Russia had so far turned a blind eye to what could only be described as a "homophobic and barbaric" crackdown on marginalised members of the Chechen community.

He said there were growing reports of gay men and lesbian women being "rounded up" by Chechen authorities.

"Being gay in Chechnya can get you abducted, tortured or possibly killed," Mr Clark said.

Pussy Riot is in Adelaide to perform at The Fringe festival despite Alyokhina still being officially banned from leaving Russia.

At one stage their Australian appearances were in doubt amid delays in the granting of visas.

Pussy Riot shot to world fame in 2012 when five members staged a performance inside Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior to protest what they said was the support of church leaders for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Australian Associated Press