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Russia extends Pussy Riot pre-trial jail time

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Russia extends Pussy Riot pre-trial jail time

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A court in Russia has extended the custody period for the three members of Pussy Riot.

The all-girl punk band are accused of hooliganism after they broke into Moscow’s largest cathedral in February and performed an anti-Putin protest song.

The girls will now spend a further six months in jail ahead of their trial.

The band first came to prominence in the lead up to Vladimir Putin’s bid for a third term as Russian president.

On Friday, Moscow police arrested four people as both supporters and critics of the group protested outside the court.

Over 100 popular Russian artists and intellectuals have signed an open letter calling for their release. A rally earlier this month saw protesters lock themselves in cages to challenge the girls’ detention.

But religious leaders have praised the decision to prosecute the band members, saying Pussy Riot’s song Holy Shit insulted the Russian Orthodox Church. The lyrics pray for the Virgin Mary to “drive Putin out”.

The girls’ lawyers say they will appeal Friday’s ruling.

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