Punk Band Trial Ends in Moscow

Posted August 8th, 2012 at 11:30 am (UTC-5)
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Final statements have been delivered in the trial of three members of a Russian all -female punk-rock group facing years in prison for an unsanctioned performance at Moscow's main cathedral.

Prosecutors have called for a three year prison sentence for the group, less than the seven-year maximum they could receive for the charges of 'hooliganism.' The verdict is expected to be issued on August 17.

The trio, members of the punk rock band known as Pussy Riot, entered Christ the Savior Cathedral in February, where they staged an impromptu performance of a song with lyrics asking the Virgin Mary to deliver them from Vladimir Putin, who at the time was running for a third presidential term. The three women were arrested in March and have been in jail ever since.

The case has prompted calls for leniency from international musicians, celebrities, and ordinary Russians. Last week, President Putin said he did not favor harsh punishment for members of the band.

The trial has been seen as part of a widening government crackdown on dissent in Russia.