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

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid