Moscow City Court upholds legality of Pussy Riot arrest

The Moscow City Court has upheld the extension of the arrest of three Pussy Riot participants. Thus, the court has declined the cassation appeals filed by the women's lawyers, an Interfax correspondent has reported.

At a private hearing of the Pussy Riot case on July 20, the Moscow Khamovnichesky District Court granted the investigators' request by extending the arrest of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich until January 12, 2013.

Several days later, the defense lawyers for the young women contested the decision in the Moscow City Court. During the trial, it became known that the hearing of the appeals was scheduled for August 20. However, a sentence was handed out in the case three days before the session of the Moscow City Court judicial collegium.

Masked members of the Pussy Riot punk band staged an anti-Putin performance at the Christ the Savior Cathedral on February 21, 2012. The action triggered a broad public response and three female singers were detained on hooliganism charges.

The Khamovnichesky District Court in Moscow sentenced the three Pussy Riot girls to two years in a penal colony on August 17, 2012.

Human rights defenders said that the biggest punishment the singers deserved was an administrative penalty for petty hooliganism. Amnesty International declared them prisoners of conscience.

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