Mark Knopfler, Paloma Faith, Foster The People, Grizzly Bear air support for Pussy Riot

Three members of the Russian punk band were jailed today for two years

Mark Knopfler, Paloma Faith, Foster The People, Grizzly Bear air support for Pussy Riot

Photo: PA

A host of musicians have spoken out in support of the three members of Russian punk collective Pussy Riot, who earlier today were sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of 'hooliganism'.

Mark Knopfler, Paloma Faith, Foster The People, First Aid Kit and Gogol Bordello are some of the many acts to make public their outrage at the jailing of Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich.

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.

In an official statement, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits said: "Whenever a political regime or religious establishment refuses to tolerate criticism it advertises itself as repressive, backward and insecure. This verdict will diminish Russia in the eyes of the world. I condemn the prison sentences given to these young people and support the right to protest for everyone."

Paloma Faith took to Twitter to express her concern, writing:




Edward Droste of Grizzly Bear said the verdict was 'unbelievable':




First Aid Kit promised to dedicate a show to Pussy Riot:




Krist Novoselic, formerly of Nirvana, called the three women's sentence 'harsh':




Meanwhile Foster The People wrote:




Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello said:



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.

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 was underway outside the Russian embassy in London, marshalled by members of the Occupy London movement.

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