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Russian court reduces Pussy Riot sentence for 2012 cathedral stunt

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, April 4, 2014 10:27 EDT
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Masked mmbers of Russian punk group Pussy Riot (AFP)
 
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A Russian court on Friday decided to partially grant the appeal in case of Pussy Riot punks, ruling that their 2012 cathedral stunt was not directed against a “social group” and shaving one month off their sentence.

The three women, Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were convicted in 2012 after staging a protest performance in a cathedral during Vladimir Putin’s presidential campaign.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova spent 22 months in jail before being let out under a general amnesty in December, while Samutsevich received a suspended sentence.

However they continued to fight the ruling and the Supreme Court ordered in December that the verdict be reviewed.

The Moscow City Court presidium of five judges on Friday ruled that their appeal should be partially granted, with the removal of one small clause from the decision – namely, that their action consisted of “hooliganism motivated by hatred against a social group”.

The presidium also ruled that the original sentence of two years should receive a token reduction to one year and 11 months.

The full original verdict had stated that the “punk prayer” that the women performed in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on February 17, 2012, was a gross violation of public order that “disrespected society” and was motivated by “religious hatred”.

It is the mention of religious hatred that had been particularly opposed by Pussy Riot, who had said they did not intend to offend religious people. The scandalous case riled Russian society and exposed deep divisions between conservatives and liberals.

Lawyer Irina Khrunova said that the defence will still pursue the appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Meanwhile Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, who have been on a whirlwind tour around the world since their release, were in New York, where they met with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and are scheduled to discuss their prison experience at a panel of the Women in the World summit Saturday.

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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