Russia's 'Pussy Riot' Say Trial against Them 'Absurd'

World | August 6, 2012, Monday // 19:33|  views

Pussy Riot punk group member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is escorted to Khamovnichesky district court to the next session of the trial in Moscow, Russia, 06 August 2012. EPA/BGNES

One of the three Pussy Riot punk band members on trial in a Moscow court on charges of hooliganism said on Monday that the accusation against them was absurd and illegal.

Three Pussy Riot members - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, all aged between 20 and 30 - are on trial in Moscow over their performance of a "punk prayer," calling for then-Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin to resign.

The performance in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral included insults directed at Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill, as well as blasphemous words that insulted believers.

Testifying in Moscow's Khamovniki Court on Monday, Samutsevich admitted that she took part in the event at the Christ the Savior Cathedral but said she was not admitting being guilty of hooliganism, RIA Novosti reported.

According to her, the punk band was formed to draw public attention to criticism of the ruling authorities in Russia and all three of them had no intentions of offending Orthodox believers.

In conclusion, Samutsevich asked the court "to treat them more justly."

The defense for the women on trial asked the court on Monday to remove the judge, which it was the seventh motion for recusal of the judge since the trial began on July 30.

Lawyer Violetta Volkova said that according to her information Judge Marina Syrova "whether directly or indirectly but personally is interested that the case ends in a guilty verdict."

The trial over jailed Pussy Riot singers raised international concern with many famous western rockers voicing support for the girls and asking for their release.

In the most recent appeals, former Sex Pistols vocalist John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, dedicated his whole performance to Pussy Riot during the festival of punk bands, Rebellious, in Britain's Blackpool.

The young women face up to seven years if convicted on hooliganism charges in a case that has split Russian society with some saying the punishment should be harsh and others saying the women only committed an ethical wrongdoing, which should not be punished by prison terms. The three women have been in jail since February, when the performance took place.

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Tags: Vladimir Putin, Russia, Moscow, Russian President, Patriarch Kirill, Dmitry Medvedev, Pussy Riot, Russian Orthodox Church, Christ the Saviour Cathedral


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