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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs