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Pussy Riot trial begins in Moscow

By | Published on Tuesday 31 July 2012

Pussy Riot

Three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot have gone on trial in Moscow, accused of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility”. All have pleaded not guilty.

The charge stems from an incident in February this year when the band performed a song in the Cathedral Of Christ The Saviour Of The Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, protesting against Vladimir Putin ahead of elections that saw him win his third term as the country’s president. Billed as a “punk prayer”, the song called on the “Holy Mother, Blessed Virgin” to “throw Putin out”.

The three women who went on trial yesterday, Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were arrested shortly after the performance, though all initially denied being members of the ten-strong band, who perform in masks. However, according to The Guardian, the defendants have now seemingly admitted involvement, and yesterday Tolokonnikova told the court that she was sorry if some people were offended by the protest, and that had not been their intention.

If found guilty, the women face up to seven years in prison. Many human rights campaigners have said that they do no hold out much hope of them being acquitted, but it is hoped that they will not be given lengthy jail terms. Activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva told The Guardian: “The court’s decision will depend not on the law but on what the Kremlin wants”.



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