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Pussy Riot In Moscow Court To Appeal Conviction Over 'Hooliganism' For Anti-Putin Song

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Pussy Riot, the Russian all-girl, anti-Kremlin punk trio, have appeared in a Moscow court to appeal against their conviction for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred".

Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, were all jailed for two years for performing a 'punk prayer', laced with profanities and an anti-Putin message, on the altar of Moscow's main cathedral, Christ the Saviour, in February 2010.

The band claim that they were seeking to draw attention to the Russian Orthodox Church's support for then-Russian Prime Minister and now President, Vladimir Putin.

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The three women appeared to be in good spirits as they appealed their sentences

Their arrest and subsequent jailing provoked international outcry from supporters who claimed that it was yet another example of Putin ignoring human rights and using the full power of the state to crush dissent from political opposition.

Michelle Ringuette of Amnesty International USA wrote: "Say what you will about Pussy Riot: this might not be your kind of music.

"Their actions might offend you. But this doesn't change the fact that freedom of expression, in whatever peaceful form it takes, is a human right, and one on which the protection of other rights rests."

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Pussy Riot supporters outside the Russian embassy in Poland

Western music stars from Madonna to Jarvis Cocker spoke out in defence of the trio and even Russian Prime Minister, Dimitri Medvedev insisted they should receive a suspended sentence despite being 'sickened' by their actions.

Despite this it is unlikely that their convictions will be overturned although their sentences could be reduced.

The appeal was adjourned last week as Samutsevich sought to replace her lawyer due to a 'difference of opinion'.

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