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Investigators believe Pussy Riot activists might come under attack

April 19, 2012, 17:23 UTC+3

Police detained more than 20 persons near the building of the Tagansky court

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MOSCOW, April 19 (Itar-Tass) — Investigators believe the arrested participants in the "punk prayer" at the Christ the Savior Church can come under attacks.

"It is mentioned in the case materials that the suspects must remain under arrest as they might become the target of criminal encroachment," Mark Fegin, a lawyer of one of the suspects, said at a hearing at the Tagansky court on Thursday.

The lawyers are now reading the case materials and the investigator’s petition to extend arrest of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich to June 4.

The court is reviewing the case against Tolokonnikova. She said at the hearing that she could not complain of prison conditions. However, she noted that there was no medical service there. She claimed she often had a headache.

"As for the rest, everything's fine; I thank everybody for the letters and handcrafted items they send us," Tolokonnikova said.

Meanwhile, police detained more than 20 persons near the building of the Tagansky court.

Earlier reports said five persons were detained. Two detainees were set free after police warned them against re-offending and protocols of administrative offense were drawn against three others, a city police official told Itar-Tass.

Pyotr Verzilov, the husband of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and a participant in the Voina art group, joined the protest action in support of the Pussy Riot activists. Both supporters and opponents gathered near the court. Some 100 people are reportedly at the scene.

Among the detainees are members of the Arkady Kots group who began to sing songs near the court building. Two men were detained for spraying a powder fire extinguisher at the crowd. One was detained for throwing smoke pellets, and another for stripping naked.

Some tried to light torches, but police intercepted the action. Many reporters are at the scene.

Some 30 police are on duty around the building of the court.

On February 21, five masked young women in brightly colored clothes appeared in the Christ the Savior Church, ran onto the ambo before the altar and performed an indecent song for several minutes using the amplifiers they had brought along. They also shouted insults against the clergy and believers, as well as against the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill.

They ignored the rebukes by the church attendants and believers, and fled as guards tried to detain them.

Police opened a criminal case under Article 21, Part 2 of Russia’s Criminal Code /hooliganism/ which envisions a penalty of up to seven years.

The young women denied their involvement in the church prank.

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