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Pussy Riot members found guilty of hooliganism

By David Ferguson
Friday, August 17, 2012 8:01 EDT
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Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot via AFP
 
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The three jailed members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been found guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” According to the BBC, a Moscow judge has ruled that Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 “crudely undermined the social order” when they stormed the altar of Russian’s largest cathedral and performed a “punk prayer” beseeching the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Vladimir Putin.

The verdict is currently being read. Prosecutors are seeking three year sentences for each member of the all-woman band.

Updates to follow.

UPDATE (10:02 a.m., Friday, August 17): The Wall Street Journal live blog of the sentencing reports that the three women have received prison sentences of two years each.

Observers in the courtroom reportedly shouted “Shame!” as the verdict was read. The judge told the courtroom that the women’s punishment should serve as “a caution to others.”

Defense attorneys are expected to appeal the ruling.

UPDATE (12:54 p.m.): The State Department has issued an official statement regarding Pussy Riot.

“The United States is concerned about both the verdict and the disproportionate sentences handed down by a Moscow court in the case against the members of the band Pussy Riot and the negative impact on freedom of expression in Russia,” the statement said. “We urge Russian authorities to review this case and ensure that the right to freedom of expression is upheld.”

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
 
 
 
 
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