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Russian Court Releases Pussy Riot Member


Members of the female punk band "Pussy Riot" (L-R) Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sit in a glass-walled cage before a court hearing in Moscow, October 10, 2012.
A Russian appeals court has freed one of the members of the all-female punk band Pussy Riot, but has upheld a jail sentence for two others for an unsanctioned protest at a Moscow cathedral.

The judge at the Moscow city court issued a suspended sentence for Yekaterina Samutsevich, saying she was thrown out of the cathedral by guards before she could take part in the performance. But he upheld the two-year prison camp sentences of Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.

All three women were convicted in August of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. They argued in court on Wednesday their impromptu performance was political in nature and not an attack on religion.

The trio was arrested on the altar of Russia’s most prominent Orthodox cathedral in January, after they called on the Virgin Mary to deliver them from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that he thought the punishment was very strict. But President Vladimir Putin recently said that the court ruling was correct.
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