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. Altar Server Pavel Zhelezov said he had heard no music during the so-called “punk prayer” on the altar of Russia’s main cathedral.
“I saw that clip later, but it differed from what had happened in the church: music and words of the song were dubbed in,” he said. He said he had heard no music, and he first took the singing he heard for church chants. He also said he had heard “in their so called singing in church no mentioning of the Patriarch”.
Zhelezov said, however, that the girls had no right to behave in church that way and that they insulted the believers. He dubbed their apologies as perfunctory and called them sacrilege. “There were practically no apologies and I don’t accept them,” the alter server said. “Their actions were aimed at insulting the feelings of believers, at least all believers qualified them as such, including me,” he said. Like three previous injured parties, Zhelezov also waived a claim to the defendants on compensations of moral damage. Asked about the punishment the girls deserved, he said he left it to the court.
Meanwhile, defendants Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich refused to plead guilty of hooliganism on Monday. 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.