Russian punk band sentenced to 2 years in prison

Russian punk band sentenced to 2 years in prison

August 17th, 2012 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

Feminist punk group Pussy Riot members, from left, Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sit in a glass cage at a court room in Moscow, Russia on Friday, Aug 17, 2012. The women, two of whom have young children, are charged with hooliganism connected to religious hatred but the case is widely seen as a warning that authorities will only tolerate opposition under tightly controlled conditions. T-shirt on right worn by Tolokonnikova is Spanish and translates to "They shall not pass", a slogan often used to express determination to defend a position against an enemy.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

NATALIYA VASILYEVA, Associated Press

MOSCOW - A Moscow judge has sentenced each of three members of the provocative punk band Pussy Riot to two years in prison on hooliganism charges following a trial that has drawn international outrage.

Friday's sentence comes amid a wave of protests around the world in support of the feminist rockers.

The judge said in the verdict that the three band members "committed hooliganism driven by religious hatred" and offended religious believers.

The three were arrested in March after a guerrilla performance in Moscow's main cathedral calling for the Virgin Mary to protect Russia against Vladimir Putin, who was elected to a new term as Russia's president two weeks later.