Pussy Riot hooliganism verdict due in Russia
Published: 17th Aug 2012 07:07:01
A verdict in the trial of three members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot is due shortly.
The three women are charged with hooliganism after performing a protest song in Moscow's Christ the Saviour cathedral in February.
They say their "punk prayer" was a political act in protest against the Russian Orthodox Church's support of President Vladimir Putin.
Prosecutors have asked for them to be given three years in prison.
Supporters of the women are planning to hold protests outside Russian embassies around the world as the verdict, scheduled for 15:00 local time (11:00 GMT) is announced.
Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, along with other members of their band, staged a flashmob-style performance of their song close to the altar in the cathedral on 21 February.
Their obscenity-laced song implored the Virgin Mary to "throw Putin out".
Their act enraged the Orthodox Church, with its leader Patriarch Kirill, saying the act amounted to blasphemy.
Patriarch Kirill is closely identified with the Kremlin, having backed Mr Putin's re-election as president this year.
On the eve of the verdict, Ms Tolokonnikova said she was "not bitter about being in jail".
But, speaking through her lawyer on Twitter, she said: "Politically, I am furious."
"Our imprisonment serves as a clear and unambiguous sign that freedom is being taken away from the entire country."
Her husband, Pyotr Verzilov, told the BBC he believed the court would not deliver an impartial verdict.
"No-one in Russia, no-one outside the world has any doubt that it's Putin personally who will be choosing the sentence for the three members of Pussy Riot," he said.
"Everyone understands that in Russia, it's Putin who gets the decision in the court cases, not the judge, not anyone else."
But Mr Verzilov said he did not know which direction Mr Putin would take, and what "signal" he would like to give.
"Either he will signal that he has the ability to listen to public outcry both in Russia and the rest of the world, or that he sees Russia moving not even towards China but towards North Korea."
Russian public opinion on the case is divided, with many people saying the women have been treated too harshly and that the case is part of attempts to clamp down on opposition after mass anti-Putin protests earlier this year.
The women have attracted high-profile support from other artists including Paul McCartney and Madonna, who called for their release while she was on tour in Russia earlier this month. Amnesty International considers them prisoners of conscience.
On Thursday, former president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev told the BBC's Russian Service the case should never have gone to trial, calling it "a completely pointless undertaking".
At 23:45:24 in SportBayern Munich winger Arjen Robben was surprised by Real Madrid's approach to the Champions League semi-final first leg in Madrid.
At 23:28:38 in HeadlinesThe first contingent of US troops has landed in Poland for military exercises amid tensions with Russia over Ukraine.
At 22:39:30 in SportThe Premiership game between Crusaders and Irish League champions Cliftonville on Saturday has been switched from Seaview to Solitude.
At 22:39:22 in BusinessTechnology giant Apple reported profits of $10.2bn (£6.1bn) after selling 43.7 million iPhones during the three-month period ending 29 March.
At 22:33:12 in EntertainmentUS actress Jodie Foster has married her girlfriend, Alexandra Hedison, the actress' representative confirms.
At 22:29:03 in BusinessTroubled online game-maker Zynga reported a first-quarter loss of $61m (£36m).
At 22:26:07 in SportGreat Britain's hopes of World Championship promotion were ended by a 2-1 defeat to Lithuania in Vilnius.
At 22:17:12 in EnglandA robot has been used in a children's ward to allow patients to communicate with each other and with staff.
At 22:03:05 in SportNorthern Ireland's Mark Allen progressed to the second round of the World Championship thanks to a comfortable 10-4 win over Michael Holt.
At 21:43:34 in BusinessSocial networking giant Facebook reported profits of $642m (£383m) during the first quarter of 2014, beating analyst expectations.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Pussy Riot hooliganism verdict due in Russia [Online] (Updated 17th Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1446727/Pussy-Riot-hooliganism-verdict-due-in-Russia [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
US actress Jodie Foster has married her girlfriend, Alexandra Hedison, the actress' representative confirms.
The cost of drugs is in the headlines following the decision by NHS watchdog NICE that a new cancer treatment should not be funded.