Members of the female band Pussy Riot have called their “punk prayer” performed at a Christian church an “ethical mistake". Still, they say they don't plead guilty to charges of hooliganism that is a criminal code's article in Russia, so it can land them in prison for seven years.
“We never said anything insulting to the believers, the church or God,” group member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova said at the Pussy Riot trial in Moscow on Monday.
The group's attorneys said the girls had planned to hold a political performance and had made it in a ritual space only because they had been unaware of church rules.
The arrested group members pleaded guilty to an administrative offense on Monday, but not to the criminal charge of hooliganism.
The prosecutors accuse the girls that their song was “insulting and sacrilegious to Orthodox believers,” so it can be considered as a hoologanism case. The injured party is a worker in the Christ the Savior Cathedral who was the witness of the "punk prayer". She also supports the hooliganism charge and demands for a hard penalty.
Five masked members of Pussy Riot stormed the cathedral in February to perform their “punk prayer” aimed at then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in front of stunned church security guards.
Three group members were later detained and charged with hooliganism, with the main phase of the trial beginning on Monday. They have already been in an interlocutory sentence for half a year, and last week the court made a decision to extern the term till January 2013 (meaning another 6 months in an investigative isolation ward).
The whole case has drawn a wide response in the society which split into the opinion about the crime and the punishment. A number of prominent Western musicians, including Sting, Franz Ferdinand and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, have spoken in the "Pussy Riot" support, as well as hundreds of Russian famous cultural figures, who signed a statement with demands to free the band after a disciplinary action.
Author: Julia Alieva