MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow’s highest court panel has upheld guilty verdicts for two members of the Pussy Riot punk band, jailed last year for two years over an anti-Putin performance in Moscow’s largest cathedral.
The Moscow City Court presidium rejected appeals submitted by lawyers for Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. The ruling was made last week, but only published on the court’s website on Wednesday.
“The punishment that was handed down is just and proportional to their actions,” Judge Ella Bondarenko said.
The two women, currently serving their sentences in penal colonies in the Urals and central Russia, were not present at the appeal.
Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were jailed last August over a “punk prayer” in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral that came after the head of the powerful Orthodox Church, Patriach Kirill, publically backed Vladimir Putin’s presidential bid.
The third convicted member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was freed by an appeals court last October. She had also been sentenced to two years last August, but the appeals court ruled she had not had time to participate in the controversial performance before she was apprehended by cathedral security.