2 Years in Prison for ‘Hooliganism’ for Russian Punk Band

Posted August 17th, 2012 at 10:20 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

A Russian judge has handed down a sentence of two years in prison for three women from a small punk band who were charged with hooliganism for performing a song ridiculing President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main cathedral.

The members of the band Pussy Riot say their performance was meant to protest the strong ties between the Orthodox church and the government.

Outside the courthouse, police have arrested some of the hundreds of people gathered to demonstrate support for the band – including prominent opposition activists such as former world chess champion Garry Kasparov.

Mr. Putin's critics say the trial is an example of Russia's intolerance for dissent. The judge said the guilty verdict was based on the conclusion that the women had motives of religious hatred.

The three entered Christ the Savior Cathedral in February, where they staged an impromptu performance of a song with lyrics that call on the Virgin Mary to deliver them from Vladimir Putin, who at the time was running for the Russian presidency. The three were arrested in March and have been jailed since.

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