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Russian murder suspect denies Pussy Riot link

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, August 31, 2012 7:49 EDT
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Members of Pussy Riot via AFP
 
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Russian investigators said Friday they had detained a professor who confessed to trying to mislead the police by scrawling “Free Pussy Riot” in blood on a wall after murdering a mother and her daughter.

The shock discovery of the message in support of the jailed female members of the anti-Kremlin punk band created a furore in the Russian media and became top news on state TV channels.

Several reports and some top Russian websites openly accused a backer of the band of killing the women — a charge that folds into the Kremlin’s attempts to paint members of President Vladimir Putin’s opposition as extremists.

But the federal Investigative Committee said 38-year-old Kazan university professor Igor Danilevsky confessed to dating the younger woman and stabbing her to death during an argument over finances and vacation plans.

Investigators said the man said he killed the mother as a witness.

“Before leaving, in order to remove any suspicion from himself and make it seem like a ritual killing, he arranged the victims’ bodies in a certain manner and wrote ‘Free Pussy Riot’ on the wall with their blood,” the committee said in a statement.

The incident occurred on August 22 — just five day after a Moscow court convicted the band members of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” for their protest performance in Russia’s main cathedral.

The sentence was condemned by the West as another example of how freedom of expression has suffered in Russia since Putin’s initial rise to power 12 years ago.

The “punk prayer” stunt was staged in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral just weeks before Putin’s March 4 election to an historic third term.

The band’s defence attorneys on Thursday called the message at the murder scene an attempt to cast the supporters of Pussy Riot and the broader anti-Putin protest movement in a bad light.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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