ISSN 2330-717X

Russia: Pussy Riot Receives 2-Year Jail Sentence

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A Russian judge has handed down a sentence of two years in prison for the members of an all-female punk band who performed a song ridiculing President Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s main cathedral.

The three members of Pussy Riot smiled and laughed in the moments after they were sentenced for “hooliganism driven by religious hatred.” The women say their performance was meant to protest the strong ties between the Orthodox Church and the government, not to show disrespect to the church.

Outside the courthouse, police have arrested some of the hundreds of people gathered to support the band.

Seven members of the band Pussy Riot
Seven members of the band Pussy Riot

Among those detained are leftist opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, who is a strong critic of Putin.

Another group of people outside the courthouse yelled in support of the verdict, saying the women insulted religious believers.

The three entered Christ the Savior Cathedral in February, where they staged an impromptu performance of a song with lyrics that called on the Virgin Mary to deliver them from Vladimir Putin, who at the time was running for the Russian presidency. The three were arrested in March and have been jailed since.

The case prompted calls for leniency from an array of international musicians, celebrities, and ordinary Russians. Last week, President Putin said he did not favor harsh punishment for members of the band.

VOA

VOA

The VOA is the Voice of America

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