Pussy Riot Guilty, Gets 2 Years

Judge finds three band members guilty of hooliganism

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 17, 2012 7:05 AM CDT | Updated Aug 17, 2012 9:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Russian judge today found three members of punk band Pussy Riot guilty of hooliganism driven by "religious hatred and enmity" and sentenced them to two years in prison, Reuters reports. Prosecutors had been seeking three years. The three were arrested in March after performing an anti-Putin "punk prayer" inside Moscow's main cathedral. The three women sat in a courtroom cage as the judge addressed the court for nearly three hours.

Finally, two and a half hours after the band members were declared guilty, the sentence was read. Previously, the judge had been reading from a seemingly endless summary of the trial as participants and observers alike appeared to grow increasingly bored. From the Wall Street Journal's live blog: "One of the lawyers for Pussy Riot is blatantly flicking through a Twitter feed on her smartphone as the judge drones on."

Feminist punk group Pussy Riot members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, right, Maria Alekhina, center, and Yekaterina Samutsevich sit in a glass cage at a court room in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Aug. 17, 2012.
Feminist punk group Pussy Riot members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, right, Maria Alekhina, center, and Yekaterina Samutsevich sit in a glass cage at a court room in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Aug. 17, 2012.   (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)
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