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Court upholds custody for Pussy Riot activists

May 11, 2012, 17:22 UTC+3

The court thereby turned down the lawyers' appeal which requested bail

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MOSCOW, May 11 (Itar-Tass) — The Moscow City Court on Friday uphold custody extension for two suspected participants in the so-called "punk prayer" at the Christ the Savior Church, staged by the Pussy Riot art group, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich.

The court thereby turned down the lawyers' appeal which requested bail.

Lawyer Nikolai Polozov drew the court's attention to the results of the expert examination according to which "there is no corpus delicti in the actions by the punk prayer participants, except for insulting the feeling of the believers which envisions an administrative punishment. Despite the severity of the article /"hooliganism"/, it is not a crime of violence; there is no investigation running, so the defendants could have stayed at home in Moscow all this time and report to the investigator at the first order.

Maria Alyokhina criticized the charges against her. "It clearly follows from the expert examination that there is no corpus delicti in my actions; not one sign to qualify them as a crime."

A remand prison is punitive institution, which does not envision correction. "It won't make me better, it will make me worse," she added.

Samutsevich agreed with her. Both young women denied their guilt. But a prosecutor said she considered the Moscow Court’s ruling on custody extension absolutely legitimate, justified and motivated.

"The court has ascertained that the materials the investigator presented contain the motivation and reasons which prevent the selection of the measure of restraint for Alyokhina and Samutsevich other than arrest," the prosecutor said.

The court also had reasons to agree with the opinion that the young women, if set free, might escape from the investigator.

During the Friday hearing, the court attached to the case Alyokhina's reference from the international socio-ecological union, lauding her as a responsible, hard-working and socially significant person. Alyokhina was a participant in the action to protect the juniper-pistachio forest which belongs to Russia’s heritage.

The authorities tightened up security at the Moscow City Court on Friday. Some 20 persons, mostly Pussy Riot supporters gathered at the court building.

Earlier, Moscow's Tagansky court extended custody of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich to June 24.

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 through amplifiers. They also shouted insults against the Russian patriarch.


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