Pussy Riot sentenced to two years in prison

Members of the Russian punk band have been jailed for hooliganism fuelled by religious hatred

Pussy Riot sentenced to two years in prison

Photo: PA

Three members of Pussy Riot have been sentenced to two years imprisonment each.

Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred today (August 17) at Moscow’s Khamovnichesky Court.

Their conviction comes after an incident in February this year when they staged a flashmob style performance at Moscow's Christ The Saviour Cathedral, protesting against the Orthodox Christian church’s support of president Vladimir Putin.

Judge Marina Syrova said the actions of the women had "crudely undermined social order". On sentencing, she said that the women are sane and should be punished in accordance with the law. Prosecutors had requested a sentence of three years in the event of a guilty verdict. However, Judge Syrova listed attenuating circumstances, such as a lack of previous crime, positive character profiles and the fact that two of the women have children. They have already been detained for five months.

The court concluded that it is not possible to change the charges and make them less grave. Citing the motives of the crime and the attitude with which it was committed, the court deemed it necessary to issue a custodial sentence in order to "restore social justice," according to The Guardian.

Large numbers of their supporters, as well as their opponents, had assembled outside the court building. Earlier today, Russian opposition leader Sergey Udaltsov was detained by police as he approached the police cordon and attempted to enter the court building. Russian chess player Garry Kasparov is also believed to have been arrested. Meanwhile, a protest has been underway outside the Russian embassy in London, marshalled by members of the Occupy London movement.

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