02:57 GMT +3 hours04 May 2016
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Three members of art collective Pussy Riot convicted over a “punk prayer” at a church should have been given a suspended sentence, not a real jail term, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday.

Three members of art collective Pussy Riot convicted over a “punk prayer” at a church should have been given a suspended sentence, not a real jail term, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday.

“Prolonging the prison confinement seems unproductive in this case,” Medvedev said at a meeting with the members of the ruling United Russia party, which he heads.

“I feel sick from what they’ve done, their appearance and the hysteria that accompanies everything that happens. I’m simply disgusted,” said Medvedev, who enjoyed a liberal reputation during his stint as president in 2008-2012.

But he added that the five months the three convicts have served in pretrial detention were sufficient punishment.

Pussy Riot members, who were arrested in March, were given two years behind bars in August for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.

Group members, who were recognized prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International in April, insisted their performance was purely political, targeting the newly flourishing alliance between the church leadership and Vladimir Putin ahead of March presidential elections.

The group appealed the court verdict, which is currently pending.

 

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