Pussy Riot supporter priest to be defrocked by Russian orthodox church

Deacon Sergei Baranov had already resigned over the church's treatment of three members of the band

Pussy Riot supporter priest to be defrocked by Russian orthodox church

Photo: PA

A Russian orthodox priest who supported the Pussy Riot protestors is to be defrocked by the church.

According to the BBC, Deacon Sergei Baranov had already resigned over the church's treatment of three members of the band, who were jailed for two years on August for staging a protest against President Vladimir Putin in one of Moscow's main cathedrals.

Their imprisonment has sparked condemnation across the world, with a raft of musicians including Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Paul McCartney calling for them to be released. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has also said they should be freed.

The church has accused Deacon Baranov of using the case as an excuse to leave the church.

The three jailed women's case is up for appeal on October 1. They received two-year prison sentences on August 17 after being found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. Meanwhile, other members of Pussy Riot recently delivered a video message to their supporters, which you can watch below. The video features members of the collective abseiling down a wall before setting fire to an image of President Vladimir Putin.

"We've been fighting for the right to sing, to think, to criticise," they say. "To be musicians and artists ready to do everything to change our country. No matter the risks, we go on with our musical fight in Russia".

"Start the pussy riot and never stop," they conclude. "The fight for freedom is an endless battle that is bigger than life."

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