Moscow City Court: Pussy Riot could have received 7 years in jail if they didn't have children

The fact that two members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot have children was taken into account when the first instance court handed out a sentence to them, Larisa Polyakova, chairman of the Moscow City Court collegium on criminal cases, told a press conference at the central office of Interfax.

"The fact that Mariya Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova have children was taken into account as an extenuating circumstance by the first instance court, but the judge, having weighed all circumstances of the case, decided that their improvement is only possible if they are isolated from society," Polyakova said.

The cassation court would have taken this circumstance into account if the district court had not done that, she said.

Justice Yury Pasyunin confirmed that the court has taken this circumstance into account.

"The crime the girls were charged with carried a maximal punishment of seven years in prison. They were given two with regard for the extenuating circumstances," Pasyunin said.

In addition, the Moscow City Court has evaluated the degree of every Pussy Riot member's participation in the stunt in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The court found that Yekaterina Samutsevich did not shout in the cathedral and she was freed.

"Samutsevich, like the others, put on a cap, took out her guitar, got into a fight with a security guard, and took his portable radio, preventing him from leading them out of the cathedral. At that time, the others were beginning to shout, make a noise, and express their emotions. Samutsevich just didn't have the time to shout, she was led out," Moscow City Court Justice Yury Pasyunin told a press conference at the Interfax central office on Thursday.

On Oct. 10, the Moscow City Court suspended Samutsevich's sentence in the case involving the anti-Putin stunt in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The court let stand the sentence hand down to the other two participants in the stunt, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who were earlier sentenced to two years in a penal colony.

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