Pussy Riot Verdict: Guilty

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Common Dreams

Pussy Riot Verdict: Guilty

On Friday a judge in Moscow has found three members of the punk band guilty of "hooliganism"

by
Common Dreams staff

Feminist punk group Pussy Riot members, from left, Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sit in a glass cage at a court room in Moscow, Russia on Friday, Aug 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)

Three members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been found guilty of "hooliganism" and have been sentenced to two years prison in a court on Friday over the performance of an anti-Putin song in Christ the Savior Cathedral in February. 

The defendants "committed an act of hooliganism ... based on motives of religious hatred and enmity," the judge told the Moscow court as Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich sat in a courtroom cage.  And “Members of the group Pussy Riot ... criminally colluded to commit a flagrant violation of social order, expressing manifest disrespect to society.

The Moscow Times, which has been live blogging the events of the verdict, reports that "Judge Marina Syrova said the women may be corrected 'only with a real [prison] sentence.'"

The band members have said that their song in the Moscow cathedral, "Virgin Mary, Chase Putin Out," was not an act of religious hatred, but an act of political protest. 

The group has received support worldwide as many see the trio's arrest as a symptom of the crackdown on dissent in Putin's Russia.

Reuters reports that Alexei Navalny, one of the organizers of the big winter protests against Putin, told reporters outside the court, "This verdict was written by Vladimir Putin."

Chants of "Shame!" and protests erupted outside the Moscow court when the sentence came.

Chess great Garry Kasparov was one of several arrested by police outside the Moscow court house after the verdict was announced. Meanwhile, in Manhattan three people were arrested at the Russian consulate during protests following the verdict.

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Video uploaded by YouTube user imjustevil666 shows the performance that lead to the group's arrest:

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