Pussy Riot Trial Begins Over Putin 'Punk Prayer' Altar Protest

30/07/2012 14:57 | Updated 30 July 2012

Three members of the Russian feminist punk rock band, Pussy Riot, face trial on Monday against allegations of "hooliganism".

The trio performed their single Punk Prayer in a cathedral in Moscow in protest of the return of Vladimir Putin to the Russia presidency.

The song's lyrics call on the Virgin Mary to "throw Putin out", and the official charge against the women is hooliganism driven by "religious hatred".

If found guilty the three members - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, and Maria Alekhina, 24 – could face up to seven years in prison.

They have been in custody since their arrest in March, two of the three women have young children. A court recently ruled that the women are to remain in custody for a further six months and it is unclear how long the trial will last.

The trial has divided public opinion.

Amnesty International UK have called the trial a "violation of their right to free speech" and have began a text message campaign calling for their immediate release.

Speaking to the BBC, Pyotr Verzilov - husband of imprisoned band member Nadia Tolokonnikova - said:

Pussy Riot

CONVERSATIONS