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February 07, 2013

Jailed Russian Band Members Appeal to Europe Court

by VOA News

Jailed members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot are contesting their convictions in the European Court of Human Rights.

Lawyers for the group filed their complaint, alleging that the conviction violates several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights.

They say the treatment of Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova during the trial was inhumane and amounted to torture.  

Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were sentenced last year to two years in prison for an anti-Vladimir Putin performance in a Moscow church. They were convicted on charges of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred".

Samutsevich was given a suspended sentence and released on appeal.

Critics have accused Russian President Putin of launching a mass crackdown on dissent since he took office last May. The Kremlin maintains that new laws have been passed to strengthen security and keep the public safe.