Pussy Riot: Dissent on Trial in Russia

In February, four members of a feminist Russian punk-rock band named "Pussy Riot," protesting against President Vladimir Putin's government, walked into the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. They wore bright-colored balaclavas and performed a provocative song called "Punk Prayer," with lyrics that called on the Virgin Mary to drive Putin away, and condemned the close relationship of the church and the Russian government. Shortly after, three of the women were arrested and detained for months as a 2,800-page indictment was compiled, accusing them of criminal hooliganism and religious hatred. On Friday, the three were convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment, after a trial widely condemned by outside observers as an attack on free speech. Gathered here are several images from the trial and the reactions of Pussy Riot supporters around the world.
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1. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of the female punk band Pussy Riot, raises a fist before a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, on August 8, 2012. On Friday, August 17, Tolokonnikova and two other members of the band were convicted of criminal hooliganism and acts of religious hatred for staging a "punk prayer" against Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral last February.




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2. Members of Pussy Riot staged several protests prior to the Cathedral incident in February. Here, the group protests at the so-called Lobnoye Mesto in Red Square in Moscow, on January 20, 2012. The eight activists, who were later detained by police, staged the performance to protest against the policies of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.




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3. Four members of Pussy Riot perform "Punk Prayer" inside the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow on Tuesday, February 21, 2012. Guards quickly intervened and ushered the women out of the cathedral.




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4. A supporter of the punk band Pussy Riot holds a poster outside a Moscow courthouse, on March 14, 2012, during hearings on the women's arrests. A Moscow court earlier had confirmed the detention of members of Pussy Riot for trying to perform in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin praised the women's arrests.




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5. Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot, one of the three women to be tried, is escorted to a courtroom in Moscow, on April 19, 2012.




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6. Yekaterina Samutsevich of Pussy Riot, one of the three women to be tried, sits in a defendant's cage in a district court in Moscow, on June 20, 2012.




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7. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, of Pussy Riot, one of the three women to be tried, sits in the defendant's cell before a court hearing in Moscow, on August 8, 2012.




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8. A supporter of Pussy Riot is detained by police outside a court in Moscow, on August 8, 2012.




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9. Supporters of Pussy Riot sit locked inside a mock defendant's cage outside a Moscow court, on July 4, 2012.




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10. Members of Pussy Riot Yekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina are escorted to a court hearing in Moscow, on August 17, 2012.




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11. A German supporter of Pussy Riot holds a poster in Hamburg, Germany, on August 17, 2012.




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12. Pussy Riot supporters place masks on a monument to WWII heroes to resemble Pussy Riot members, at an underground station in Moscow, on August 17, 2012.




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13. A supporter of the detained members Pussy Riot throws leaflets from a balcony during a protest rally in Prague, Czech Republic, on June 19, 2012.




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14. Protesters wearing masks take part in an Amnesty International flash mob demonstration in support of Pussy Riot in the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland, on August 14, 2012.




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15. Masked protesters hold up placards next to each other outside the Russian Embassy in Mexico City, during a demonstration to support Pussy Riot, on August 17, 2012.




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16. Police detain former world chess champion and opposition leader Garry Kasparov during the trial of the female punk band Pussy Riot, outside a court building in Moscow, on August 17, 2012.




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17. Activists wear masks and hold posters in support of Pussy Riot during a protest rally in front of the Russian Embassy, in Warsaw, Poland, on August 17, 2012. The poster at right reads, "Freedom for Pussy Riot".




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18. Jonathan Gomes, during a demonstration in front of the Russian consulate in New York, in support of Pussy Riot, on August 17, 2012.




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19. Police detain a supporter of Pussy Riot for violation of law and order outside a court building in Moscow, on August 17, 2012.




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20. A woman wears a veil during a demonstration by supporters of Pussy Riot outside the Russian Embassy in London, England, on August 17, 2012.




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21. Russian film Director Olga Darfy arrives wearing a mask in support of detained members of female punk band Pussy Riot, for the opening ceremony of the 34th International Film Festival in Moscow, on June 21, 2012.




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22. Activists of the Ukrainian feminist group Femen use a chainsaw to cut down an Orthodox cross, erected to the memory of victims of the political repression in Kiev on August 17, 2012 in support of Russian punk group Pussy Riot.




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23. Artist Pyotr Pavlensky, a supporter of the jailed members of Pussy Riot, with his mouth sewn shut, as he protests outside the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, on July 23, 2012.




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24. Members of the punk group Pussy Riot, from left, Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, in a glass cage in a courtroom in Moscow, on August 17, 2012.




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25. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (left) and Maria Alyokhina, look out from the defendant's cell in a courtroom in Moscow, on July 30, 2012.




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26. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (left), Maria Alyokhina (right) and Yekaterina Samutsevich (center), sit behind glass during a court hearing in Moscow, on on July 30, 2012. Russian prosecutors asked for a three year jail sentence for the three members of Pussy Riot, saying their crime of singing an anti-Vladimir Putin song in a church was so "severe" they deserved isolation.




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27. An opposition activist with her child stands in front of Orthodox militant group members who stood in front of Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral to prevent the opposition access to the Cathedral, on April 29, 2012. Opposition activists planned to pray to Holy Mother to deliver Russia from Vladimir Putin, repeating the "punk prayer" sung by five members of Pussy Riot in February.




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28. Members of Pussy Riot who are still at large, wait before an interview with Reuters journalists in Moscow, on August 13, 2012.




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29. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, a topless FEMEN activist squirts ink on the wall of the Russian consulate as another holds a sign that reads "Free Pussy Riot" in Portuguese, on August 15, 2012.




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30. Supporters Pussy Riot listen to the band's songs as they sit in a car near a court building in Moscow, on August 17, 2012.




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31. A policeman chases a supporter of Pussy Riot across a fence enclosing the Turkish embassy near a court building in Moscow, on August 17, 2012.




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32. New York Police Department officers arrest a woman demonstrating in solidarity with the Russian punk band Pussy Riot in front of the Russian Consulate in New York, on August 17, 2012.




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33. Members of Pussy Riot perform during a concert by U.S. rock group Faith No More in Moscow, on July 2, 2012.




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34. A masked demonstrator attends a demonstration in support of Pussy Riot, whose members face two years in prison for a stunt against President Vladimir Putin, outside Russia's embassy in Berlin, on August 17, 2012.