Russian judge finds punk band Pussy Riot guilty of hooliganism, could face up to 7 years in prison.

From CBC:

Three members of the Russian all-girl punk group Pussy Riot have been found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for their performance inside a Moscow cathedral criticizing President Vladimir Putin.

Judge Marina Syrova handed down the verdict Friday in a Moscow court. Sentencing was expected later in the day. While prosecutors have sought a three-year prison term, the women could face a maximum of seven years behind bars.

The band was little known before its brief impromptu performance in Christ the Saviour Cathedral in February. Dancing and high-kicking, they shouted the words of a “punk prayer” asking the Virgin Mary to deliver Russia from Putin, who was set to win a third term in a March presidential election.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alekhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, have been in detention since March.

The church has been calling for a tough sentence, while Putin, who criticized the group’s demonstration against him, has recommended leniency.

The trial of the band members has made them an international cause célèbre. They have received public support from musicians such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paul McCartney and Madonna.

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