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Russian church urges Pussy Riot members to repent

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Sept. 30, 2012, 2 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Associated Press

Police officers detain an ultra Orthodox activist outside the Vinzavod art gallery in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. A protest by about 15 Russian Orthodox Christian activists has disrupted the opening of a Moscow art exhibit inspired by the jailed members of the punk band Pussy Riot. Riot police dispersed the protesters, detaining nine of them, but then blocked off the area, making it difficult for those who wanted to attend Thursday’s opening to get inside. The paintings by Yevgenia Maltseva were inspired by religious icons and the three Pussy Riot members who were jailed for a raucous performance inside a Moscow cathedral to protest Vladimir Putin’s rule and his close relationship with the church hierarchy.
© (AP)

Associated Press

Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian Orthodox Church is asking for clemency for three jailed members of the rock band Pussy Riot if they repent for their "punk prayer" for deliverance from President Vladimir Putin at Moscow's main cathedral.

Sunday's church statement comes a day before the women's first appeal since they were convicted on hooliganism charges and sentenced to two years last month.

The church said that if the women make statements showing "penitence and reconsideration of their action," they "shouldn't be left unnoticed."

Earlier this month, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that keeping them in prison any longer would be "unproductive" — a statement that encouraged hopes the appeals court could set them free. But skeptics pointed at the Kremlin's ongoing crackdown on dissent, saying that their release would be unlikely.

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