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Pussy Riot protesting

Anti-Putin prayer trial live on TV

RobK(YouTube screenshot)

A court hearing against Russian punk band Pussy Riot will be aired live on television on Monday, a tribunal in Moscow has confirmed. Three women in their mid-20s belonging to the band, Nadeja Tolokonnikova, Ekaterina Samoutsevich and Maria Alekhina, have been charged with insulting and "morally injuring orthodox Christians".

They have been in jail awaiting their trial since March. The Moscow Times website said on Monday that the women's pre-trial detention has been extended until January 2013. The site quotes a German MP, Marieluise Beck, as saying "President Putin is keeping three young female artists behind bars for their insubordination", and calling them, "his personal prisoners".

On 21 February, Pussy Riot performed a "punk prayer", singing "St. Maria, Virgin, Drive away Putin. Drive away! Drive away Putin", inside the cathedral of Christ Saviour in Moscow. The performance enraged devout Christians, but many others said that the prosecution of the three women and their detention were disproportionate. They could face seven years in jail for their song.

At a concert in Saint Petersburg last weekend, the leader of American rock band the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Anthony Kiedis, gave support to Pussy Riot's cause by wearing a T-shirt onstage, displaying the name of the beleaguered punk band.

There's a video of Pussy Riot's church protest on YouTube.


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