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Pussy Riot activists ask to postpone court session

July 31, 2012, 12:43 UTC+3

The defendants agreed that they had violated the Church rules

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MOSCOW, July 31 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow's Khamovniki court continues on Tuesday to question injured parties in the criminal case against three activists of the Pussy Riot punk group, accused of hooliganism at the Christ the Savior Cathedral.

However, after the first injured party, altar server Vassily Tsiganyuk, had been questioned, Maria Alyokhina asked to postpone the court session. “Yesterday were brought to the custody centre very late, we did not eat or sleep. I need time to prepare. I cannot participate in a court session now,” she said. The other two girls appealed with the same request. However, judge Marina Syrova turned down their appeal, saying that Tuesday the girls would have time for meals. In reply to a question of lawyer Violetta Volkova, she said the girls would also have time to sleep.

On Monday, the hearing continued for more than nine hours, which arose indignation among the lawyers and the defendants. According to the defence, the girls were “subjected to tortures” as they were in the courtroom for almost 12 hours without meals.

At the present time, another altar server, Pavel Zheleznyak, is questioned.

During the first session, defendants Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich refused to plead guilty of hooliganism. Tolokonnikova stated they had not been motivated by hate. "I don't have disgust for anyone; and it is cruel on the part of the investigators, at the very least, to accuse us of it. We acted for political motives, not for religious hate," she said.

The defendants agreed that they had violated the Church rules. "It's an administrative offense, and I don't understand why I'm in the prisoner's dock," she went on to say.

She apologized to the believers stating that the group's activists had had no intention to hurt them.

The defendants emphasized that their actions at the Christ the Savior Church were politically motivated. "It was our ethical error," Tolokonnikova said.

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