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MOSCOW, July 20 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow’s Khamovniki district court has refused to accept petitions from lawyers of the girls from the notorious punk rock group Pussy Riot who are facing charges of hooliganism at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, the lawyers told journalists on Friday before a court session.
“We came to the court’s registry to hand in our petitions for today’s session but they did not accept them saying it was the order from superior bodies,” lawyer Violetta Volkova said. According to her, the court chairman, Viktor Danilkin, also refused to accept these petiotions.
The lawyers said they wanted to file three petitions demanding to exclude the latest psychological and linguistic examination and to appoint a new one, and to summon witnesses for the defence and a number of experts.
The court has not yet begun the hearings because of a crowd of reports and television cameras.
In the mean time, security measures at the court building have been enhanced. The entry has been closed. At least six busses with riot police are seen in the vicinity of the court building. Traffic along the street where the court is located has been partially suspended.
Pussy Riot supporters are gathering in front of the court. Now there are about 50 of them.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, the participants in a scandalous punk prayer at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, are charged with hooliganism (part 2, article 213 of the Russian Criminal Code).
According to investigators, Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina and Samutsevich, along with other yet unidentified persons (against whom a separate case was opened) “colluded to commit an act of hooliganism on reasons of religious hatred and animosity against a social group and committed provocative and insulting acts in a religious building that attracted attention of worshipers.”
Five young girls in masks and bright clothes appeared in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on February 21, 2012. They rose to the Ambon and then approached the Altar. With the help of sound amplifying equipment which they had brought into the church, they sang an obscene song for several minutes and insulted the clergymen and the believers. They were ignoring remarks made by the church employees and the visitors and disappeared when the guards wanted to detain them. Later on, the Pussy Riot punk group, notoriously famous for staging similar actions in other places, including on Red Square, claimed responsibility for the punk-prayer.