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A court of appeal in Moscow has confirmed two-year prison sentences for two members of the punk band Pussy Riot, but freed a third after her sentence was suspended.

Yekaterina Samutsevitch, 30, had also been given two years jail at the original trial. There were cheers in court as she was released.

The court confirmed the jail terms for Nadezdha Tolokonnikova, 22, and Maria Alyokhina, 24, who were found guilty of vandalism motivated by racial hatred after their anti-Kremlin “punk prayer” protest in a Moscow cathedral.

Relatives and lawyers for the trio had complained of political interference, and said the appeal had been compromised by Vladimir Putin’s comments at the weekend. The Russian president said the women had got what they deserved.

In Russia many people were shocked at the cathedral protest. However the authorities’ reaction sparked an international outcry, with criticism that the punishments were disproportionate.

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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