Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says he believes the two members of the punk band Pussy Riot should be released from prison.
RIA Novosti news agency quotes Medvedev Friday as saying it was not "right" for Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyoknina to serve prison sentences, adding that they had "already been in jail long enough."
The all-female punk band was convicted in August of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred during an unsanctioned protest at a Moscow cathedral.
The group was sentenced to two years in prison, but the band's third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was freed last month after a judge ruled that guards threw her out of the cathedral before she could take part in the performance.
The trio was arrested on the altar of Russia's most prominent Orthodox cathedral in January after they called on the Virgin Mary to deliver them from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Prime Minister Medvedev has said before he thought the punishment was very strict, even as Putin says the court ruling was correct.
Freed feminist punk group Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich speaks outside a court in Moscow, Oct. 10, 2012. A Moscow appeals court freed one of the jailed members, but upheld the two-year prison sentence for the two others.
Pussy Riot members, from left, Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alekhina, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sit in a glass cage at a court room in Moscow, Wednesday. Oct. 10, 2012.
A bailiff stands in a room as people watch a live broadcast of a court hearing on members of the punk band in Moscow October 10, 2012.
Yekaterina Samutsevich after she was freed from the courtroom in Moscow October 10, 2012.
Pussy Riot members sit in a glass cage at a court room in Moscow, Oct. 10, 2012.
Yekaterina Samutsevich at a court room in Moscow, Oct. 10, 2012.
Maria Alekhina in a glass cage at a court room in in Moscow, Oct. 10, 2012.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP.