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Convicted Members Of Pussy Riot Appeal Their Sentence, Lawyer Announces

Pussy Riot Members Appeal Sentence

Three members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot have appealed a court’s decision to jail them for two years after they performed a “punk prayer” against Russian President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral, according to a statement by their lawyer on Monday.

The stunt angered the Russian Orthodox Church, who was also targeted in the prayer, but the Church has since forgiven the group for the performance, reports The Huffington Post.

Now, however, the women’s trial and punishment has brought an outcry from human rights activists and others who are accusing both the Kremlin and the Church of orchestrating the trial in yet another effort to crack down on Putin’s critics.

The three Pussy Riot members were sentenced on August 17. Their lawyer, Violetta Volkova, announced that their appeal was submitted to the Khamovniki district court was submitted on Monday. A decision could take up to 10 days.

MSNBC notes that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, were all convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred after they were arrested for their protest at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in February.

Kremlin critics have taken the Pussy Riot trial as a sign that Putin will have little tolerance for dissent during his six-year term as president, which began in May. Defense lawyer Nikolai Polozov stated of the appeal that:

“If the court abides by the law it would throw out the verdict. But being realists, understanding all the efforts the state has put into this case, we think it’s unlikely the verdict will be overturned.”

Do you think that the three jailed members of Pussy Riot should be set free, or do they deserve their two-year jail sentence?

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