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article imagePussy Riot members sentenced to two years in prison

By Layne Weiss     Aug 17, 2012 in World
Moscow - Three members of all-girl Russian punk band Pussy Riot were sentenced by a Moscow judge to two years in prison for performing an anti-President Putin protest at a Russian Orthodox cathedral in February.
Judge Marina Syrova convicted Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezdha Tolokonnoivka, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred," BBC News reports. Judge Syrova told the three women they had "offended" the feelings of the Orthodox believers and shown a "complete lack of respect."
According to Reuters, supporters described Friday's verdict as Putin's "personal revenge."
Mr Putin, however, had said that the women shouldn't be too judged "too harshly" for their protest, The AP reports. This created hope for supporters that the band members might be freed in the courtroom, but this would have made Putin look weak. He hasn't bowed to public pressure throughout his 12 year run in power.
He was elected to his third term as president two weeks after Pussy Riot's "punk prayer" protest against him, BBC News reports.
The US and EU condemned Friday's ruling as "disproportionate."
Amnesty International said the court ruling "shows that the Russian authorities will stop at no end to suppress dissent and stile, civil society," The AP reports.
The group's supporters chanted "Shame," outside the Moscow courthouse, Reuters reports. They said the case showed "Putin was cracking down on dissent in his new six-year term." Dozens were detained by police when things got out of hand. One of those detained was former world chess champion Gary Kasparov.
There were other protests of the ruling around the world, most notably in Kiev, Ukraine and New York City. In Kiev, four women, one of whom was topless, used a chainsaw to cut down a cross, The AP reports. In New York, about 40 protestors gathered holding banners that said "We are all hooligans."
BBC News reports that there were also protests of the ruling against Pussy Riot in Paris, France, where demonstrators in Igor Stravinsky square chanted "Freedom."
Critics of the group's actions have also been demonstrating saying the stunt "was an insult to the Russian Orthodox Church."
One of the demonstrators, Igor Kim, told [url=http://He was elected to his third term as president two weeks after Pussy Riot's "punk prayer" protest against him, BBC News reports. t=_blank]BBC News: "Shouting and screaming and spreading hate in Church is unacceptable and contrary with Russian ethics."
Another, Valentina Ivanova, a retired doctor, told Reuters: "What they did showed disrespect towards everything, and towards believers first of all."
Another protestor outside the court in Moscow shouted: Let Pussy Riot and all their supporters burn in hell," BBC News reports.
Musicians Madonna, Sting, and Paul McCartney were among protestors around the world who condemned the prosecution of the three women, The AP reports.
Prosecutors had been seeking the Pussy Riot members to be sentenced to three years, BBC News reports.
The women have already served 5 months in jail, Reuters reports. Now they will serve 19 more. They can be released early, however if Putin is willing to pardon them.
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What follows is a translation of the song ‘Virgin Mary, Put Putin Away’ sung by Pussy Riot in Moscow’s main Cathedral in March
What follows is a translation of the song ‘Virgin Mary, Put Putin Away’ sung by Pussy Riot in Moscow’s main Cathedral in March
Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away,
Рut Putin away, put Putin away,
Black robe, golden epaulettes,
All parishioners crawl to bow,
The phantom of liberty is in heaven,
Gay-pride sent to Siberia in chains,
The head of the KGB, their chief saint,
Leads protesters to prison under escort,
In order not to offend His Holiness
Women must give birth and love,
Shit, shit, the Lord’s shit!
Shit, shit, the Lord’s shit!
Virgin Mary, Mother of God, become a feminist,
Become a feminist, become a feminist,
The Church’s praise of rotten dictators
The cross-bearer procession of black limousines,
A teacher-preacher will meet you at school
Go to class – bring him money!
Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin,
Bitch, better believe in God instead,
The belt of the Virgin can’t replace mass-meetings
Mary, Mother of God, is with us in protest!
Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away
Рut Putin away, put Putin away
More about pussy riot trial, Vladimir putin, Russia, Protest
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