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Top Russian Court Orders Review of Pussy Riot Case

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A member of the female punk band "Pussy Riot", Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, is escorted before a court hearing to appeal for parole at the Supreme Court of Mordovia in Saransk, July 26, 2013.

A member of the female punk band "Pussy Riot", Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, is escorted before a court hearing to appeal for parole at the Supreme Court of Mordovia in Saransk, July 26, 2013.

Russia's top court has ordered a review of the case against two women in the punk band Pussy Riot who were jailed on hooliganism charges.

The Supreme Court said an earlier trial did not prove evidence of a portion of the verdict that said Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were motivated by "hatred of a certain social group." It also said the court failed to review extenuating circumstances in their sentencing, such as their youth and their status as young mothers of underage children.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for performing a punk prayer against Russian President Vladimir Putin on the altar of Russia’s most prominent Orthodox church in early 2012. Both received two-year sentences in penal colonies and are scheduled to be released in March. Another band member received a suspended sentence.

The all-female band was protesting against the Orthodox church’s support for Putin during his run for an unprecedented third term as president.

The sentencing of the members of Pussy Riot has drawn protests across the globe with critics saying it was indicative of the Kremlin's growing clampdown on dissent.

Earlier this month, Russian President Putin proposed an amnesty bill that would release many inmates convicted of hooliganism, paving the way for early release of the band members.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.
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