17:29 GMT +3 hours23 November 2014
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Moscow Court Finds Pussy Riot Video 'Extremist'

Russia
(updated 18:34 28.10.2014)
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A Moscow court ruled on Thursday that a video by punk group Pussy Riot is extremist, RAPSI news service reported, paving the way for it to be banned from the Russian Internet.

MOSCOW, November 29 (RIA Novosti) – A Moscow court ruled on Thursday that a video by punk group Pussy Riot is extremist, RAPSI news service reported, paving the way for it to be banned from the Russian Internet.

Prosecutors argued the video, which featured five members of the group dancing at the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Savior cathedral and shouting out a “punk prayer” against President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill II, instigated social disorder and was offensive to Russia’s Orthodox Christian population.

The music was later added to the video of the group's performance.

Russian Internet providers will be required to block access to the video once the three-day appeal period expires. Under Russian law, providers who host forbidden content are subject to criminal prosecution.

Google, which owns the video-hosting website YouTube, said it would block access to the video in Russia after it received a court order, according to the company's Russia representative.

Three Pussy Riot members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were jailed shortly after the incident in February 2012 and sentenced last August to two years in prison for hooliganism for their performance.

Their trial made international headlines and sparked criticism of the Putin administration from civil rights activists and foreign governments, on one hand, and support from outraged social conservatives, on the other.

Samutsevich was released on time served in October after a court ruled that she had not technically participated in the action.

Prosecutors took up the case on the request of State Duma lawmaker Alexander Starovoitov, from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.

Earlier this year, a Russian court also ruled the American anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims to be extremist and blocked access to the video on the Russian Internet.