Pussy Riot members jailed for two years for hooliganism
Published: 17th Aug 2012 15:40:22
Three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been jailed for two years after staging an anti-Vladimir Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral.
Judge Marina Syrova convicted the women of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, saying they had "crudely undermined social order".
The women say the protest, in February, was directed at the Russian Orthodox Church leader's support for Mr Putin.
The closely watched trial has inflamed opinion both at home and abroad.
Prosecutors had been seeking a three-year jail sentence for the women.
Judge Syrova said Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, had offended the feelings of Orthodox believers and shown a "complete lack of respect".
"Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina and Samutsevich committed hooliganism - in other words, a grave violation of public order," she said.
The judge quoted prosecution witnesses as saying the act had been one of blasphemy, not politics.
Along with other members of their band, the women staged a flashmob-style performance of their song close to the altar in the cathedral on 21 February.
Their brief, obscenity-laced performance, which implored the Virgin Mary to "throw Putin out", enraged the Orthodox Church - its leader Patriarch Kirill said it amounted to blasphemy.
Mr Putin was elected for a third term as president two weeks later.
Alyokhina, Tolokonnikova and Samutsevich, watching Friday's proceedings from inside a glass-walled cage in the courtroom, smiled as the widely predicted conviction was announced.
The judge then took three hours to read the verdict, before handing down "two years deprivation of liberty in a penal colony" for each defendant.
The BBC's Daniel Sandford, in Moscow, says the defendants had all been handcuffed in the dock, whereas on other days the handcuffs had been removed.
One man in the courtroom shouted "shame" at the sentencing, and there were chants and whistles from the band's supporters outside.
Opposition leader Alexei Navalny said: "They are in jail because it is Putin's personal revenge. This verdict was written by Vladimir Putin".
On Thursday, Tolokonnikova had said she was "not bitter about being in jail". But, speaking through her lawyer on Twitter, she said: "Politically, I am furious."
Ex-world chess champion Garry Kasparov was among several people arrested outside the court in Moscow
"Our imprisonment serves as a clear and unambiguous sign that freedom is being taken away from the entire country," she said.
The women have been detained for the past five months.
Associated Press news agency said a number of protesters had been arrested outside the court before the sentencing was announced, including ex-world chess champion Garry Kasparov and opposition politician Sergei Udaltsov.
There were also pro-Pussy Riot protests in Paris, where demonstrators in Igor Stravinsky square chanted "Freedom", and in Kiev, where women protesters sawed down a wooden cross in a central square.
Other shows of support took place in Belgrade, Berlin, Sofia, London, Dublin and Barcelona.
The band have also had vocal support from artists including Paul McCartney and Madonna, and from politicians.
Critics of the band have also been demonstrating, saying the stunt was an insult to the Russian Orthodox Church.
One, Igor Kim, told the BBC News website from Moscow: "Shouting and screaming and spreading hate in Church is unacceptable and is contrary with Christian ethics."
One protester outside court in Moscow simply shouted: "Let Pussy Riot and all their supporters burn in hell."
Are you in Russia? What is your reaction to the verdict? You can send us your comments using the form below.
If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.
Terms and conditions
At 21:04:03 in HeadlinesAbout 150 people are on the fourth day of a hunger strike at an immigration detention centre in the US state of Washington, officials say.
At 20:25:58 in ScotlandPolice have reported three people to the procurator fiscal and warned a further six after a crackdown on illegal motorcyclists in Fife.
At 20:22:45 in ScotlandA man from Lanarkshire who abused a young Thai girl who had came to Scotland for a better life has been jailed for life.
At 20:22:40 in EnglandAn employment tribunal involving a school linked to an alleged Islamist takeover plot has been adjourned to allow authorities time to investigate.
At 20:17:28 in BusinessIt is another busy day for Abhishek Dhawan in Delhi. His phone has not stopped ringing and he has a series of business meetings.
At 20:11:30 in Northern IrelandTwo wallabies have escaped from privately-owned land in County Down and police have warned the public not to approach the animals.
At 20:02:14 in SportArsenal manager Arsene Wenger says history gives his side belief they can overcome Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday.
At 20:00:27 in EnglandA north London council will terminate the contract of any firm found to be blacklisting construction workers, it has announced.
At 19:51:53 in EnglandA man has been arrested by police investigating the theft of about 100 commemorative brass plaques from a remembrance garden in Shropshire.
At 19:47:04 in ScotlandA man whose car mounted a pavement hitting and killing two students told police he was "just sorry", a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) has heard.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Pussy Riot members jailed for two years for hooliganism [Online] (Updated 17th Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1446833/Pussy-Riot-members-jailed-for-two-years-for-hooliganism [Accessed 10th Mar 2014]
News In Other Categories
It is another busy day for Abhishek Dhawan in Delhi. His phone has not stopped ringing and he has a series of business meetings.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says history gives his side belief they can overcome Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday.
A Japanese scientist behind a seemingly groundbreaking stem cell study says the findings should be withdrawn amid doubts over its quality.
An employment tribunal involving a school linked to an alleged Islamist takeover plot has been adjourned to allow authorities time to investigate.
About 150 people are on the fourth day of a hunger strike at an immigration detention centre in the US state of Washington, officials say.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com