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Russian Punk Band Members Kept Jailed for Anti-Putin Move

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March 14 (Bloomberg) -- A Russian court refused bail to two members of an all-female punk band who are facing seven years in jail for a political protest act inside Moscow’s Christ the Savior cathedral.

The Moscow City court ordered the two women to remain in pre-trial detention, rejecting an appeal for their release, defense lawyer Nikolai Polozov said on his Twitter Inc. account today. They plan to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, Polozov told the BBC’s Russian service website.

Masked young women wearing skimpy dresses performed what they called a “punk prayer” in front of the altar at the country’s main Christian Orthodox place of worship, calling on the Virgin Mary to “expel” Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, described the Feb. 21 stunt as “disgusting.” Several thousand bloggers signed a letter asking Orthodox Patriarch Kirill to intervene and pressure authorities to release the two women, who have been in jail since March 3, and stop criminal proceedings for hooliganism against them.

Mass protests against alleged electoral fraud brought tens of thousands of people onto the streets in Moscow and other cities, sparking the largest unrest in Putin’s decade in power.

While the demonstrations showed signs of cooling, with 10,000 to 25,000 people taking part in a March 10 rally in Moscow, opposition leaders are vowing to keep up protests after Putin’s disputed election to a new Kremlin term on March 4.

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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