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Pussy Riot punk trio jailed for two years


Russia

Pussy Riot punk trio jailed for two years

Three members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot have each been sentenced to two years in jail after being convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.
  
The trio - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Marina Alyokhina, 24 and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30 - were put on trial after they broke into Moscow’s main Cathedral in February and sang an anti-Kremlin song.
 
The lyrics of their so-called “punk prayer” urged the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of President Vladimir Putin.
 
Several supporters and opposition activists gathered outside the courtroom on Friday following the women’s convictions claiming that their trial was part of a wider crackdown on dissent.
 
The trio have already spent six months in jail and under Russian law, could have faced a 7 year sentence.
 
Religious leaders denounced their behaviour and called for severe punishment although Russian President Vladimir Putin said he hoped they would not be treated too harshly.
 
While many Russians have little sympathy for the trio, the women have received much international support including pop icons Sting, Sir Paul McCartney and Madonna, who called for the band members to be released at a recent Moscow concert.

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