News / Europe

    Jailed Punk Rockers Plead Not Guilty in Moscow

    Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (L) and Maria Alyokhina, members of female punk band "Pussy Riot", look out from the defendent's cell in a courtroom in Moscow July 30, 2012.
    Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (L) and Maria Alyokhina, members of female punk band "Pussy Riot", look out from the defendent's cell in a courtroom in Moscow July 30, 2012.
    VOA News
    Three young women have pleaded not guilty to charges of 'hooliganism' for staging a punk-rock protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main cathedral.

    The trio, members of an all-female punk rock band, called Pussy Riot, entered Christ the Savior Cathedral in February, where they staged an impromptu performance of a song whose lyrics call on the Virgin Mary to throw out Putin. The three were arrested in March and have been awaiting trial while in jail.

    During Monday's hearing, the three expressed remorse that people were offended by their performance, but added that they would not accept the charges.
     
    Their protest stunt was staged just weeks before the presidential election won by Mr. Putin, who was prime minister at the time.

    The women face up to seven years in prison if they are convicted.  Rights groups say the punishment is inappropriate.  

    The band, which was formed last October, is known for its hatred of Putin.

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    Comments
         
    by: L. Moore from: Edmonton, Alberta
    July 30, 2012 11:29 AM
    Proud of you girls. Thank you for standing up to the dictators. Devastating how the church has become criminals as well as the governments. We should all stand up and fight these criminals with you.

    by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
    July 30, 2012 10:33 AM
    Some scholars in Russian Orthodox Church and public personalities viewed the Band performance as “skomorokhs”- East Slavic harlequins and didn’t judge it. So the “trial” looks as a mediaeval witch-hunt. It’s very weird that the head of ROC heavily abused by VChK-OGPU-KGB - bloody forerunners of FSB’s supports the “trial”. Those who heard Patriarch Kirill have no doubts of his FSB sympathies and connection. It’s well documented that some Russian priests were FSB commissioned officers.

    by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
    July 30, 2012 9:12 AM
    The ears of the FSB stuck out of the “trial” being blown out of proportion. The aim is to intimidate all secular Russia opposing Mr. Putin’s “election”. The Russian Orthodox Church isn’t powerful as polls show that just 6% Russians claim to be believers. It’s after 75 years of state policy of militant atheism with thousands churches and mosques demolished, tens thousands priests shot dead in cold blood. Particular cruel the policy was under Joseph Stalin whom by irony Mr. Putin greatly admires.

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