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You're reading: Russia extends jailing of pussy riot activists
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The women, who have been held in pre-trial custody for almost five months, face up to seven years in jail on charges of hooliganism for storming the altar in multi-coloured masks to sing a “punk prayer” to the Virgin Mary to “Throw Putin Out!”

The Feb. 21 protest, which offended many believers in the mainly Orthodox Christian country, exposed deep divisions over the church leadership’s backing for Putin and the scale of punishment faced by the women, two of whom have young children.

Defence lawyer Mark Feigin said the court’s acquiescence to a prosecution request to hold Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich until Jan. 13, 2013, showed Russian leaders had given orders for their conviction.

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