Close
BRAND NEW ON E!
  • News/ 

    Russian Band Pussy Riot Sentenced to Two Years in Jail for Hooliganism

    Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich AFP/Getty Images

    Don't mess with Putin.

    In Moscow on Friday, members of the band Pussy Riot were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. And on that offense, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina were sentenced to two years in jail.

    The trio, who were arrested for a protest in a Russian Orthodox Church for slamming the religion's ties to President Putin, have garnered worldwide support. Madonna commanded attention from her Russian fans at a concert earlier this month when she spoke about the unfair imprisonment of the feminist punk rockers. Other famous supporters include Paul McCartney and Sting.

    Madonna supports Pussy Riot

    The girls have already been in jail for five months and will now have to serve 19 more.

    "They are in jail because it is Putin's personal revenge," Alexei Navalny, one of the organizers of big protests against Putin during the winter, told reporters, per Reuters. "This verdict was written by Vladimir Putin."

    Twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the treatment of the Pussy Riot has caused concern about the validity of free speech in Russia.

    Chick-fil-A, its supporters and opponents have certainly been exercising the right to free speech lately

    A U.S. State Department spokeswoman told BBC News that they are "concerned about both the verdict and the disproportionate sentences...and the negative impact on freedom of expression in Russia." German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the sentences "excessively harsh," adding, "Today's verdict calls into question Russia's commitment to protect these fundamental rights and freedoms."

    The Russian Orthodox Church, which agreed that Pussy Riot's performance in a church was "blasphemy," is still appealing for clemency for the trio.

    Hollywood gets political

    RELATED VIDEOS:

    FROM AROUND THE WEB
    MORE ON EONLINE

    Battle of the Butts

    Whose booty will reign supreme at the MTV VMAs?