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Russian Pussy Riot Put Down by Putin
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The three young women from the Russian punk band ‘Pussy Riot’ are expected to face a tough sentence in their trial this week over their “protest prayer” in a church. Russian President Vladimir Putin is being accused of fresh waves of oppression against dissent though he went public asking the matter “should not be judged too harshly.” The band lawyers were initially elated by Putin’s apparently soft stance, but now say it was just a stunt pulled by Putin to appease international audience. Polozov, the lawyer for the band, said, “Putin cheated us, yet again … The court continues pressurizing the defendants and ourselves.”

According to those present at the trial, the three young women, Alyokhina, Toloknnikova and Samutsevich looked tired but burst into laughter in the courtroom when stern-faced judge Marina Syrova read out the obscenities from their songs. Even some guards and court staff turned their face away from the bench to hide their laughter.

Defense lawyer Violetta Volkova said over a cited expression that “This expression is a mere translation of the English ‘Holy shit!’ which, according to the Cambridge dictionary, means ‘unpleasant surprise.’ The defense lawyer also mentioned that the expression was often used in programs broadcast on Russian television and not meant to be an insult for churchgoers.

  
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The trial has become high-profile and oppressive. On Sunday, a group of Russian journalists published an open letter alleging that they were pushed and bullied by black-uniformed bailiffs carrying automatic weapons.

Putin had remarked that there was “nothing good” in the performance of the trio who had burst into Christ the Saviour Cathedral on February 21 and urged Virgin Mary to “throw Putin out!”

The young women are on trial for hooliganism, which in Russia carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison.

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