Three members of a Russian all-female punk group facing as much as seven years in jail for a protest act against Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s Christ the Savior cathedral called for medical help at their trial.
“Three ambulances were called to the court for our defendants, as they felt unwell,” the young women’s lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, said on his Twitter Inc. account today.
Maria Alekhina, 24, Ekaterina Samutsevich, 29, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, have complained about the conditions of the trial that started this week, as they are woken at 5 a.m. and return to jail after midnight, depriving them of sleep and any prison meals, state news service RIA Novosti reported. They are kept in a glass cage in the courtroom. The trial, in its third day, resumed after doctors determined the defendants are well enough for the proceedings, RIA cited Darya Lyakh, a spokeswoman for Moscow’s Khamovniki District Court, as saying.
Amnesty International has declared them prisoners of conscience and music stars including Madonna, Peter Gabriel and Sting have rallied to their defense. The three members of the Pussy Riot band are on trial for hooliganism and inciting religious hatred after they performed what they called a “punk prayer” in front of the altar at the country’s main Christian Orthodox place of worship in February, targeting Putin, who extended his 12-year rule in presidential elections in March.
The defendants, who have been ordered to be held in pre- trial detention until January, rejected criminal charges of hooliganism at the start of their trial on July 30. They argued that their case should be treated as an administrative violation, while apologizing for upsetting religious sensibilities.
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