A man wielding an axe has threatened the judge presiding over the controversial detention of Russian punk group Pussy Riot, according to a local news source.
Police said they had arrested a man who burst into the judge’s office and threatened her with an axe if she did not release the three members of band, who were arrested for staging a protest against Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in February, reports the Moscow Times.
The judge, who last week extended the band members’ pre-trial detention until June 24, fended off the attack with the help of court officers, police said. Lawyers for the group have said the man was not connected with the band’s case.
The Pussy Riot members were detained following an impromptu performance in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral, where they sang a song called ‘Holy Shit’ as a protest against the Orthodox Christian’s Church alleged support for Putin.
Last week (April 18), at least 13 people were arrested at a demonstration outside the court hearing in support of the band.
Vladimir Putin’s spokesman today (April 23) called for an end to attacks on the Russian Orthodox Church following the protest, stating that it is under attack from “anti-Russian forces”.
Commenting on the detention of Pussy Riot, he told Reuters: “The decision must be taken by the legal authorities, in strict accordance with the law.”
Tonight (April 23), Pussy Riot supporters are set to gather outside the Russian Embassy in London to protest about the group’s detention.