Three members of the feminist punk collective Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison on Friday after being convicted of hooliganism and inciting religious hatred by a Moscow district court.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, were convicted for staging an anti-Kremlin “punk prayer” in a central Moscow cathedral in February.
The three have already spent more than five months in pretrial detention, which, according to Russian legislation, equals ten months in prison.
The custodial term is effective from the moment of arrest, which for Samutsevich was March 15, 2012 and Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova March 3, 2012. The three will therefore be due for release at the beginning of 2014.
The case, which has been a cause celebre for Russia's liberal opposition, has polarized Russian society and become the focus of international attention. The group members and their supporters claim the conduct of the trial was masterminded by the Kremlin, enraged by their protest stunt. Kremlin representatives have denied the allegations.