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You're reading: Russian court delays start of Pussy Riot appeal hearing

MOSCOW - A Russian court on Monday delayed the start of a hearing into an appeal against the conviction of three members of the Pussy Riot punk band who burst into a church and performed a protest against President Vladimir Putin.

One of the band members, Yekaterina Samutsevich, told the
Moscow court that she was dismissing her defence lawyers because
of a disagreement over the handling of the case. The court then
delayed the start of the hearing from Monday until Oct. 10.

Western governments have portrayed the three women’s
two-year sentences as excessive, and opposition groups see their
treatment a part of a crackdown on dissent since Putin’s return
to the presidency in May, but many Russians regard them as
irreverent self-publicists.

Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina,
were in August found guilty of hooliganism motivated by
religious hatred after storming into the Christ the Saviour
Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Moscow in February and belting out
a “punk prayer” asking the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin.

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