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Court extends arrest of 2nd Pussy Riot activist, Yekaterina Samutsevich, in church prank case

June 20, 2012, 17:59 UTC+3

The reasons for extending Samutsevich's arrest have not changed: she might escape from the investigator, put pressure on injured parties

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MOSCOW, June 20 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow's Taganka court on Wednesday extended, to July 24, the arrest of Yekaterina Samutsevich, the second member of the notorious Pussy Riot group, accused of hooliganism at the Christ the Savior Church. The court thereby met the petition of investigator Artyom Ranchenkov.

"After hearing out the parties' reasons and studying the materials, the court ruled on meeting the investigator's petition," judge Natalia Konovalova announced.

It follows from the investigator's materials that the reasons for extending Samutsevich's arrest have not changed: she might escape from the investigator, put pressure on injured parties and witnesses or continue to engage in criminal activity.

The petition noted that the young woman had committed illegal action in an especially cynical form at the place sacred for Christians, thus setting herself against the society and showing disrespect for universal rules of conduct in the church and in the society. The actions by the punk group activists caused a public stir and many believers demanded tough punishment for the culprits.

The prosecutor supported the investigator's petition.

The defendant and her lawyer asked for bail, arguing that no investigative actions were being carried out at present and that there was no threat of mob law.

Earlier, the court extended the arrest of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, another defendant in the case. She told reporters she had been among the girls during the so-called "punk prayer," but refused to admit her guilt of hooliganism.

Some 300 persons came to the court building to support Pussy Riot activists, including writers Dmitry Bykov and Lev Rubinshtein, actress Chulpan Khamatova, and leader of the movement for protecting the Khimki forest Yevgeniya Chirikova.

On February 21, five masked girls 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.

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

Initially, Samutsevich was a witness in the case over church prank. She was taken to the investigation department for the central administrative district of Moscow in this capacity, but personnel of Christ the Savior Church recognized her as a participant in the Pussy Riot punk group.

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