News / Europe

Bomb Scare Delays Russian Punk Protest Trial

Journalists and officials queue to enter a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, after the building was evacuated following a false threat of an explosion, August 2, 2012.
Journalists and officials queue to enter a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, after the building was evacuated following a false threat of an explosion, August 2, 2012.
MOSCOW — A bomb scare forced a delay in the Moscow trial of punk music band Pussy Riot. Members of the group were charged with "hooliganism" after a performance against President Vladimir Putin on the altar of Russia’s main Orthodox church. Witnesses say the courthouse was evacuated Thursday but members of the band were not.

The Khamovnichesky District Court was briefly evacuated after officials say a bomb threat was made.

Members of the band, 22-year-old Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24-year-old Maria Alyokhina and 29-year-old Yekaterina Samutsevich, say they were not evacuated, but others inside the facility were. Mark Feigin, a lawyer for the women, tweeted that the band members were not removed from the court during the scare.

Members of punk group Pussy Riot on trial in glass-enclosed courtroom cage, Moscow, July 30, 2012.Members of punk group Pussy Riot on trial in glass-enclosed courtroom cage, Moscow, July 30, 2012.
x
Members of punk group Pussy Riot on trial in glass-enclosed courtroom cage, Moscow, July 30, 2012.
Members of punk group Pussy Riot on trial in glass-enclosed courtroom cage, Moscow, July 30, 2012.
The three have been charged with hooliganism, which carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison. They were charged after performing what the media are calling an anti-Putin punk prayer on the altar of Christ the Savior, Russia’s most prominent cathedral.

During their February performance, band members called on the Virgin Mary to deliver them from Putin. Band members say they wanted to highlight and criticize the head of the country’s Orthodox church, Patriarch Kirill, for supporting Putin during his presidential campaign. The performance angered the patriarch.

During the first few days of their trial, band members apologized for offending the church and anyone else who found their actions inappropriate. The women say they were merely trying to express their opinion. They pleaded not guilty to the hooliganism charges.

The band's supporters say the trial of Pussy Riot is politically motivated.

Nikolai Polozov, a lawyer for the group, says a number of well-known politicians will confirm that there is a political component to this trial.

"That these girls took part in political actions, and that the motive of their actions was not any sort of religious hatred as the prosecution is trying to present, but rather that this case has an exclusively political motivation to it so that our defendants are punished for the words and the opinions that they voiced," he said.

Putin has faced unprecedented protests against his administration. Demonstrators say he runs the country through a tightly-controlled political system and corruption, a charge the Kremlin denies. Since Putin took office in May, fines for participating in unsanctioned protests have increased at least 150-fold.

Lawyers for the band believe the trial will end swiftly.

Mark Feigin, another attorney for the punk group, says in this situation it is very likely that the court will reach a decision in the next few days.

"One way or another, we should expect the verdict any day now," he said. "The verdict will be guilty, and we can't definitely rely now on anything changing the course of this trial."

The Kremlin has consistently maintained that unsanctioned protests are against the law and that actions resulting from any demonstrations could harm innocent people.

View the photo gallery of Russia's crackdown on dissidents:

Loading...

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid