Two weeks after performing Mother of Jesus, Putin Banish, described as an anti-Putin political expression, the feminist band Pussy Riot was arrested for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred." However, Pussy Riot's defenders -- such as Madonna and Sting -- are calling the decision for stiff jail time a form of political repression to set an example to the growing Russian dissatisfaction.
"This is a trial of the whole government system of Russia, which so likes to show its harshness toward the individual, its indifference to his honour and dignity," Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, one of the trio on trial said in an impassioned statement. "If this political system throws itself against three girls... it shows this political system is afraid of truth."
The judge set 17 August as the day she would deliver a verdict against the women, charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred following an anti-Putin performance in a Moscow cathedral.
Prosecutors have asked for a three-year sentence, arguing that the women sought to insult all of Russian Orthodoxy and denying they were carrying out a political protest.
Tolokonnikova called the charges against them a "political order for repression" and denounced Putin's "totalitarian-authoritarian system", insisting Pussy Riot were an example of "opposition art".