The news comes following incarcerated band member Maria Alyokhina's announcement that she would begin a hunger strike after learning she would not be allowed to attend her own parole hearing. Alyokhina was sentenced to two years imprisonment after courts found her guilty of the hooliganism charges.
"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," McCartney wrote in a portion of the letter posted Wednesday (May 22) to his website. "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."
McCartney also wrote a letter to Russian officials in support of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, the other jailed member of Pussy Riot, who was denied parole last month. "I have had a long relationship with the Russian people, and, with this in mind, I am making the following request in a spirit of friendship for my many Russian acquaintances who, like me, believe in treating people — all people, with compassion and kindness," he wrote in an excerpt of his letter regarding Tolokonnikova.
McCartney originally voiced his support for the band in a letter posted to Twitter last August. "I would like you to know that I very much hope the Russian authorities would support the principle of free speech for all their citizens and not feel that they have to punish you for your protest," he wrote. "Many people in the civilized world are allowed to voice their opinions and as long as they do not hurt anyone in doing so I believe this is the best way forward for all societies."
Alyokhina, meanwhile, forbade her lawyers from representing her during the parole hearing. She appeared via videolink for the first day of the hearing, which took place Wednesday and will continue Thursday.
By Kevin Rutherford