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Moscow's top court rejects Pussy Riot appeal

Wednesday - 5/29/2013, 10:48am  ET

File - File photo dated Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 of jailed feminist punk band Pussy Riot member Maria Alekhina in a defendant's cage in a court room in the town of Berezniki, some 1500 km (940 miles) north-east of Moscow, Russia. A jailed member of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot was hospitalized Tuesday May 28, 2013, on the seventh day of a hunger strike to protest what she calls a persecution campaign against her. Alekhina was convicted last year along with two other band members of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for an anti-President Vladimir Putin stunt in Russia’s main cathedral. (AP Photo/Alexander Agafonov, File)

MOSCOW (AP) -- Moscow's highest court has rejected an appeal by punk group Pussy Riot against their sentence for a protest against Vladimir Putin.

Moscow City Court chair Olga Yegorova said Wednesday that she had upheld the group's conviction last year for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" and denied the case was politically motivated, Russian news agencies reported.

Pussy Riot lawyer Irina Khrunova told the Associated Press she would appeal to Russia's supreme court.

Maria Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samutsevich scandalized Russia after performing an impromptu protest in Moscow's main cathedral. A Moscow court jailed all three, but Samtusevich was later released on appeal.

Alekhina went on hunger strike last week to protest what she calls an official harassment campaign against her in prison. Courts recently denied her and Tolokonnikova parole.


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