Dmitry Medvedev: Pussy Riot women's fate must be decided by court

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that in some countries the Pussy Riot band could have received quite a severe punishment for their performance at Christ the Savior Cathedral. At the same time, in an interview with the British newspaper The Times published on Monday, Medvedev warned against hasty conclusions in this case and urged to wait for a court verdict.

"One should take this calmly. Is there a verdict? No. The inquiry is underway. Of course, positions differ. In some countries, the liability for similar actions would have been significantly harsher. Under certain political conditions, such activity might have ended quite sadly for those carrying it out within the walls of a church, regardless of religious denomination," Medvedev said.

This case prompted a broad public outcry "because it concerns the understanding of individual rights and freedoms," he said.

"There will always be a difference in the perception of what is allowed and what is not from the moral point of view. And where moral misdeeds shift into the category of criminal offenses, this is for a court to decide. It is the court that must decide whether or not a crime took place," the prime minister said.

"If there is no crime, then it means that those who committed the well-known action were lucky. They became famous but were not held to account. But of course, the fact that some of these young women are in jail now is already quite a serious test for them and their families," Medvedev said.

The trial in the Pussy Riot case is due to begin at the Khamovnishesky Court in Moscow on July 30.

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