Russia’s female punk band protesters sentenced to two years for staging a protest against President Vladimir Putin in a church
The group’s backers burst into chants of “Shame” outside the Moscow courthouse and said the case showed Putin was cracking down on dissent in his new six-year term as president. Dozens were detained by police when scuffles broke out.
The United States and the European Union condemned the sentence as disproportionate and asked for it to be reviewed, although state prosecutors had demanded a three-year jail term and the maximum sentence possible was seven years.
But while the women have support abroad, where their case has been taken up by a long list of celebrities including Madonna, Paul McCartney and Sting, opinion polls show few Russians sympathize with them.
“The girls’ actions were sacrilegious, blasphemous and broke the church’s rules,” Judge Marina Syrova told the court as she spent three hours reading the verdict while the women stood watching in handcuffs inside a glass courtroom cage.
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