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You're reading: Russian judges defend ruling in Pussy Riot trial

MOSCOW — Russian judges who ruled to keep two of the three Pussy Riot band members behind bars have defended their decision, saying it was made independently and without pressure.

Moscow City Court on Wednesday
had upheld a district court ruling to send Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and
Maria Alekhina to prison for two years, but released Yekaterina
Samutsevich after giving her a suspended sentence.

Judge Larisa
Polyakova told reporters Thursday the panel of judges had deemed
“correction of Tolokonnikova and Alekhina” impossible outside prison.
She denied that there was any pressure on the judges.

Pussy Riot
staged an impromptu punk performance against President Vladimir Putin at
Moscow’s main cathedral in February. The three women were convicted of
hooliganism motivated by religious hatred but say their stunt was
political.

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