‘Pussy Riot’ Punk Rock Band Found Guilty In Russia

Three members of the feminist punk rock band Pussy Riot have been found guilty of hooliganism in a Moscow court and received a two-year prison sentence.

As The Inquisitr has previously reported, the band members were taken into custody after staging a “flash mob-style” performance inside the sprawling Christ the Saviour cathedral in February during which they denounced Russia’s Orthodox Church for backing Vladimir Putin, who was elected Russia’s president shortly thereafter.

Reuters provides further background on the incident:

“Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Marina Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, stormed the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral in February wearing bright ski masks, tights and short skirts and sang a “punk prayer” urging the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin.”

Madonna was among the celebrities calling for the release of Pussy Riot and encouraging protests in support of the band’s right to free speech.

In finding the trio of Pussy Riot members guilty, the BBC quotes Judge Marina Syrova as follows:

“These three plus others… plotted together to undermine civil order, motivated by religious hatred…Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina and Samutsevich committed hooliganism – in other words, a grave violation of public order.”

The women apparently faced up to seven years in prison under Russian law; prosecutors had asked for a three-year jail term.

The Putin administration has received international criticism for cracking down on freedom of expression and political activism and dissent. As the Guardian explains:

“Even if the women are sentenced only to time already served, the case has already clouded Russia’s esteem overseas and stoked the resentment of opposition partisans who have turned out in a series of rallies since last winter.”

Here is a CBS News report on the Pussy Riot guilty verdict:

[Image credit: Igor Mukhin]