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Pussy Riot found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred

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Pussy Riot have been found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.

The feminist trio were arrested after performing a "punk prayer" criticising Russian President Vladimir Putin at Moscow's Christ the Saviour cathedral on February 21.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot at a court hearing in Moscow, Russia

© Rex Features / Kommersant Photo Agency



Prosecutors had called for the members of the group to be imprisoned for three years.

Judge Marina Syrova said Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, had "crudely undermined social order" and shown a "complete lack of respect".

The women claim their performance was a political act in protest against the Russian Orthodox Church leader's support of President Vladimir Putin.

The judge quoted prosecution witnesses, who allege that no anti-Putin song was performed and that it was solely an act of blasphemy.

The women apparently smiled as the verdict was read. Tolokonnikova has said that she is "not bitter about being in jail", but added that their imprisonment "serves as a clear and unambiguous sign that freedom is being taken away from the entire country."

The band had received support from musicians including Paul McCartney, Madonna, Bjork and Sting during their trial.

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