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Two Pussy Riot Members 'Have Fled Russia'
Two female Pussy Riot punk rockers who are being hunted by police to avoid prosecution for staging a protest against Vladimir Putin at a church altar have fled Russia in order to evade arrest, the group announced Sunday.
"Our two members who are wanted by police have managed to leave the Russian territory! They are trying to recruit foreign feminists to prepare new action," the group wrote on its Twitter account, without giving details on where the women have fled to.
Наши две участницы в связи с розыском успешно покинули пределы страны! Набирают иностранных феминисток для подготовки новых акций!— группа Pussy Riot (@pussy_riot) August 25, 2012
Five bandmates from Pussy Riot on February 21 pulled on brightly colored balaclavas and belted out a "punk prayer" in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral calling on the Virgin Mary to remove Russian strongman Putin.
Three members of the group -- Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich -- were arrested then and on August 21 sentenced to two years in jail for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred".
The other two bandmates have remained free. But Russian police announced three days after the court ruling that they were seeking to arrest the duo.
Tolokonnikova's husband, Pyotr Verzilov, told Reuters on Sunday that the two members of the group who have fled Russia had taken part in the cathedral protest along with his wife.
"Since the Moscow police said they are searching for them, they will keep a low profile for now. They are in a safe place beyond the reach of the Russian police," he said by phone.
Asked if that meant a country which had no extradition agreement with Russia, Verzilov said: "Yes, that suggests that."
"But you must remember that 12 or even 14 members who are still in Russia actively participate in the band's work now; it's a big collective," he added.