Russian court to hear Pussy Riot appeal

Three jailed members of the punk group will learn if their two-year jail sentence has been reduced today (October 1)

Russian court to hear Pussy Riot appeal

Photo: PA

The three jailed members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot will today (October 1) learn if their two-year jail sentence has been reduced at an appeal hearing.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich are expected to return to Moscow City Court to appeal their sentence in a hearing that is only expected to last one day.

They received two-year prison sentences on August 17 after being found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. Today's hearing will not include new evidence and is only a re-assessment of the punishment handed down by the courts.

Last night, the Russian Orthodox Church called for the three members of Pussy Riot to "repent" for performing their "punk prayer" – an anti-kremlin song - in Moscow's main cathedral.

Vladimir Legoida, a senior church spokesman, told Reuters: "The church sincerely wishes for the repentance of those who desecrated a holy place, certainly it would benefit their souls. If any words of the convicts indicate repentance...we would wish that they are not left unnoticed and those who violated the law get a chance to mend their ways."

However, the trio's relatives and legal team hold little hope that the sentences will be reduced at the hearing scheduled for today, whether they repent or not as Stanislav Samutsevich, father of one of the jailed women, told the news agency: "The sentence is predetermined; their repentance will not affect it in any way."

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.

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.

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