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Investigation of outrage inside Moscow’s main cathedral extended

April 18, 2012, 23:08 UTC+3

The women are accused of hooliganism

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MOSCOW, April 18 (Itar-Tass) — Term of investigation over an outrage committed in Moscow’s downtown Cathedral of the Savior by activists of the feminist group Pussy Riot has been extended, the press service of Moscow City police told Itar-Tass.

Since the detention of the three women and their placement to custody as a pretrial measure, a number of investigative actions have been undertaken, including eight police lineups with eye-witnesses of the action.

The three women now kept in custody – Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samutsevich -- have refused to give any evidence citing Article 51 of the Russian Constitution.

The women are accused of hooliganism.

February 21, five young females wearing masks and garishly looking garments appeared inside the Cathedral of the Savior, ran up the stairs to the sanctuary platform, switched on the sound-amplifying equipment they had brought with them, and spent several minutes dancing right in front of the alter to the accompaniment of a song with obscene lyrics.

In the process of dancing, “they shouted out slanderous phrases insulting the clergymen and the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Kirill I.”

When the members of the cathedral’s staff approached them and asked them to stop the outrage, they did not react to the request in any way and disappeared only then the guardians from a private guard service who were on duty at the time of the incident made an attempt to detain them.

A punk group calling itself Pussy Riot claimed responsibility for the action soon after. Its past record of ‘achievements’ included an action on Lobny Place in Red Square, a photo report on which was published at the group’s Internet page.

“Considering the defendants’ refusal to give evidence, the effective legislation slashes considerably the opportunities of further investigative actions on them,” a police source said.

“Law requires that the defendants file statements in writing on their willingness to give evidence to the investigators, in the absence of which it will be extremely difficult to hold interrogation sessions,” he said.

“At the moment, the preliminary investigative actions continue and very forensic re-enactments have been appointed,” the spokesman said.

“Tuesday, April 17 the term of preliminary investigation was extended through to June 24, and Thursday the investigator in charge of the case plans filing a petition with the Taganka district court on extending the term of custody for the defendants,” he said.

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